In like a lion: March begins with more snow, cold
Cold temperatures and measurable snowfall brought March to area residents this weekend.
Light snow came down throughout much of the daytime hours Saturday, leading to difficult driving conditions in some locations before subzero temperatures moved in Saturday night and left most of the area battling to get above zero on Sunday.
For Mitchell, the previous record for a March 2 high temperature was zero degrees set in 1916 and that record will stand for another year after the city officially reached a high of 1 on Sunday.
“Just missed tying the record by one degree,” said Brad Temeyer, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls.
The highest area snow totals Saturday came in White Lake, where 4 inches of snow fell by 9 a.m. Sunday. Wessington Springs and Pickstown each had 3.5 and 3 inches of snow, respectively, and 1.7 inches of snow fell in Tyndall.
Officially at the Mitchell Municipal Airport, 2.5 inches of snow fell by Sunday morning, which gives Mitchell 24.7 inches of snow for the season, just more than 3 inches off last year’s pace of 27.9 inches of snow on March 1. The largest snow totals from the storm fell in the Sioux City area, where 4.5 inches were recorded.
Temeyer said that March and April can be two of the snowiest months, with more moisture in the air during the early spring months.
“In a typical year, we’re looking at March and April as being two of the heavier snow months,” Temeyer said.
Area law enforcement said Interstate 90 was mostly good for driving on Saturday and reported no major accidents. The Charles Mix County Sheriff’s Department said they had multiple reports of trucks sliding off the road and a jack-knifed semi south of Armour early Sunday morning near the Charles Mix-Douglas county line when roads were still slick. No injuries were reported in those incidents.
The snow was only half of the problem, with cold weather dropping lows nearly 30 degrees below normal into Sunday. White Lake had the lowest overnight low early Sunday morning at minus 19 degrees, Wessington Springs at minus 18, followed by Chamberlain, Pickstown and Tyndall at minus 17 for a low. Mitchell recorded a low of minus 16 degrees. Almost all of the southeastern part of the state experienced wind chills ranging from 30 to 35 degrees below zero.
Respite from the cold and snow could be coming later this week. After cold overnight lows tonight, Temeyer said temperatures closer to normal — 40 for a high and 20 for a low — could approach later this week, including a rise in temperatures for the weekend.
“We should be able to get closer to normal values later in the week and then we’re looking at a significant warm-up late next weekend,” Temeyer said.