NOAA: Cold Winter Maybe Ahead For SD

Oct 20, 2016

NOAA 2016-2017 winter temperature outlook map
Credit NOAA

If you haven’t yet broken out the earmuffs and gloves from summer storage you may need to soon. Much of South Dakota could be in for a colder than normal winter.   

The National Weather Service issued its annual prediction for the coming winter months and it shows a likelihood for cooler temperatures across much of the state.

Susan Sanders is with the National Weather Service office in Rapid City. She says a weak La Nina  increases the chances of a colder winter during December through February.

“The predominant weather pattern would have the cold air coming down from Canada and across the Northern Plains. The outlook shows cooler than normal temperatures, and it’s the degree of certainty,  the  probability of colder than normal temperatures.  It doesn’t say how much colder than normal it would be,” says Sanders.  

Sanders also says outlook also shows a potential for wetter than normal conditions in the Black Hills and parts of west river.  This is good news for winter sports tourism in the Northern Black Hills but it could mean more challenges for ranchers tending cattle.

NOAA 2016-2017 winter precipitation outlook map
Credit NOAA

NOAA weather officials are also predicting a 40 percent chance for wetter than normal conditions in the mountains of Montana and Wyoming.   Record snowfall in this part of the Northern Rockies is one factor that contributed to the major flooding along the Missouri River in 2011.

Weather Service officials say the eastern part of the state has equal chances for wetter or dryer conditions this winter.