High of 64: Second straight temperature record likely today for MitchellBreak out the sunglasses and suntan lotion — Mitchell could set a second straight temperature record today.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Break out the sunglasses and suntan lotion — Mitchell could set a second straight temperature record today.
Wednesday’s high in Mitchell hit 58 degrees, breaking the old Jan. 4 record of 54 in 1987. The National Weather Service is calling for a high today of 64 degrees.
“We have a pretty good chance of beating that,” State Climatologist Dennis Todey said Wednesday.
If the predicted 64-degree high materializes, it will blow away the previous Jan. 5 Mitchell high of 51 degrees set in 1935.
Both Todey and meteorologist Chris Jansen with the NWS in Sioux Falls said the lack of snow on the ground is helping maintain milder temperatures this winter.
“When you get mild Pacific flows over snow-free ground, you’re going to get above-normal temperatures,” Jansen said.
Todey said the state is experiencing a “split” air flow phenomenon. The Jet Stream is following a northerly pattern that’s keeping cold air in Canada and allowing mild air to flow into the state from the Pacific Northwest.
Sixty-degree temps in January are not unprecedented, Jansen said. NWS records show the highest recorded January temperature in Mitchell was 67 degrees on Jan. 29, 1931, and Jan. 24, 1981.
Mitchell’s December average temp was 28.6 degrees, which matched the same high mark set in December 2006.
“It will get colder moving into next weekend, but without snow cover, it’s not going to be bitterly cold,” Jansen predicted, “and no snowstorms are predicted for the next 10 days.”
While he expects the area to receive cold snaps, he doesn’t expect those cold periods will endure as they did last year.
“Most of the cold will be short-lived,” he said.
Jansen said the recent warm-up shouldn’t be attributed to global warming.
“You can’t correlate brief warm-ups, or one winter of mild temperatures, to any type of global warming,” he said.
Todey concurred with Jansen’s long-term appraisal, but he also said this warm winter is part of an overall trend toward warmer winters and generally cooler summers.
“Winter is the season we’ve seen the most warming in this part of the country, especially over the last 30 to 40 years, when we’ve seen much warmer temperatures,” Todey said. “This is a return to those conditions.”
He said the calendar is approaching the middle of climatological winter, without much serious winter weather.
“I don’t see any major storm systems coming, but February and March is still ahead of us. We’ll just bide our time and enjoy the warm weather while we have it.”