Mild Sunday makes brown Christmas likely as unseasonal conditions continueSunday’s high of 60 in Mitchell was the latest in a series of warm, dry days as the winter holiday approaches.
By: Anna Jauhola, The Daily Republic
It’s beginning to look a lot like a brown Christmas this year.
Sunday’s high of 60 in Mitchell was the latest in a series of warm, dry days as the winter holiday approaches. It was only a week away on Sunday, but it felt like months.
The high on Sunday didn’t quite break records, but it came close.
The record high in Mitchell for Dec. 18 was 65 degrees, set in 1923, said Billy Williams, a National Weather Service meteorologist based in Sioux Falls.
As the high hit 60, many people drove around with windows rolled down, children could be seen playing in parks and others were taking leisurely strolls all around Mitchell.
A few businesses along Main Street even propped open the front doors to enjoy the warm temps and possibly lure Christmas shoppers enjoying the decidedly non-seasonal conditions.
Williams said weather watchers saw it coming.
“We’ve been forecasting this mild weather for several days,” he said. “The prime ingredients for it is no snow cover and to have fairly clear skies.”
So far, according to the NWS, Mitchell and the surrounding area have recorded just a trace of snow.
There were some clouds evident Sunday, but they helped keep it warm. Williams said even high clouds at this time of year will cause lower temperatures because the sun is at such a low angle.
The weather has been a three-month pattern of warmer temperatures and dry conditions. Although there have been some stretches of cool-enough temperatures to freeze standing bodies of water, much of that ice has melted or become dangerously thin.
Today’s high temperature in the lower 30s will feel quite chilly compared to Sunday, Williams said. NWS predicts that Mitchell will have temperatures in the mid- to high 30s all week.
It’s also supposed to be windy today, but a temperature in the 30s is not unusual for December in South Dakota. Williams said it’s only slightly above normal for the month.
Much like Thanksgiving this year, children could be seen playing outside at many parks throughout Mitchell on Sunday. A few kids found a rare opportunity to play on a pile of snow — shavings piled from the indoor ice arena at the Mitchell Activities Center.
Though the weather has been pleasant for most people, the weather is not at all surprising to Williams.
“This happens a lot of times during the winter with the combination of no snow cover with mild temperatures,” he said.