Cold consolation: Temp could be historic
Mitchell could make history today, though most of the city’s residents would probably rather avoid it.
Kyle Weisser, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, said today’s projected low temperature is 21 degrees below zero, which would shatter the city’s Dec. 7 record low of 12 below, set in 1908.
“This morning will likely break the record,” he said.
A silver, albeit frosty, lining is that as the temperature plummets, so will the wind speeds. Today’s winds are supposed to stay between 5 and 10 mph, making wind chill much less of a factor. Weisser noted that about an inch to an inch-and-a-half of snowfall is pre- dicted late tonight and into Sunday morning for Mitchell, adding to the nearly 8 inches that have fallen since Sunday.
It’s part of the cold snap that hit much of the country early in the week, Weisser said, as a strong jet stream pours cold air from the Arctic into the United States.
He said jet streams typically run more east to west, but this north-south stream hovering aloft is what’s driving the cold temperatures and locking them into place. Most of the country east of the Rocky Mountains has been affected by the system, and Weisser said temperatures in Mitchell don’t look like they’ll move above freezing for at least a week.
“I don’t think we’re really going to see much of a warm-up. Thursday is the first day where we’ll even get remotely close to back to freezing,” he said.
Despite the frigid temperatures, Weisser said he’s not heard of many records being broken.
Friday’s frigid temperatures, which bottomed out at 13 below in Mitchell, came close to breaking the record set in 1950 of 16 below zero.
“You generally have to get to 20 to 25 below before you even get close to a record this time of year,” Weisser said.