While South Dakota is known for its wacky weather, this weekend might leave some residents scratching their heads.
It's mid-February and while typically South Dakotans might be pulling out the shovels, ice scrapers and preparing for a winter storm, many are instead grabbing their sunglasses and leaving their coats at home.
Today's weather is expected to reach approximately 60 degrees in Mitchell, with Sunday averaging even warmer at 65 degrees, according to Todd Heitkamp, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls. And that's how it's been for the past few days.
While this may seem like an oddity - 65 degrees in mid-February - it has happened before, and Heitkamp suggests South Dakotans enjoy it before it's gone.
"I'm not going to say it's never happened before, because it has," Heitkamp said. "That's what a whole lot of people don't understand is that it has happened before, but a lot of them don't recall it."
The recorded high for Feb. 17 in Mitchell can be traced back to 1913, with a high of 70 degrees. And for Feb. 16, the recorded high was 64 degrees in 1981. This past Thursday nearly broke this record, reaching 63 degrees.
While Saturday might not break any records, the warm temperatures are still a bit unusual for recent years, according to South Dakota State University Extension State Climatologist Laura Edwards.
But what many don't remember, Edwards said, is last winter was just as warm, if not warmer than this year.
"Last winter was very warm," Edwards said. "And this year, we're not seeing as much, even on the eastern side of the state. It's just not to the degree of what we saw last year."
In the last couple months, Edwards said the eastern side of the state has been warmer than average, while the western half has been near average for the temperatures this winter.
Edwards couldn't remember the last time South Dakota has seen warm temperatures like these last two winters, but it's something that occurs every few years, she said.
"It has been a touch on the warm side," Edwards said.
This January in South Dakota was the 67th warmest in the past 122 years, so about "middle of the pack" statewide, Edwards said. But across the state, South Dakota is approximately 1.8 degrees warmer this year than normal, which is calculated from 1901-2000.
But it's not just South Dakota. The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) released a global climate survey earlier this week reporting January 2017 was the third warmest on record for the globe. The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces dates back to 1880.
The global January temperature was 1.58 degrees above the 20th century average of 53.6 degrees, the NCEI reports. While the second highest global temps for January was reported last year in 2016, with 2007 being the second highest.
And as the globe heats up, South Dakota is, too.
"Talking long term trends, we've seen warmer temperatures as a trend in the winter season so looking at kind of average temperatures for a whole year, the state is warming over all, but most of that warming has been focused in the winter season," Edwards said.
On Friday, the SDSU Extension office released a climate outlook, and while it doesn't focus on the warm temperatures, it does predict a wetter spring.
From March to May could overall be wet, the outlook states, which could be especially worse for the eastern half of South Dakota. It could be more of an issue, Edwards said, because eastern South Dakota carried over excess soil moisture from a wet fall, which included a few major snow falls in late 2016, and some rain during the Christmas holiday.
But for the western half of the state, this additional moisture will be helpful, since it still faces "lingering drought" from last year, Edwards said.
The outlook ends its report by stating the three-month forecast will see warmer conditions in the southeastern corner of South Dakota - including Mitchell.
But while many may celebrate this heat surge, meteorologist Heitkamp warns Mitchell residents to not get too comfortable as a "pretty significant storm" is moving into the area on Thursday and Friday. The storm carries the potential for major snowfall, Heitkamp said.
"All we can say is enjoy the warm weather while we have it because it will be changing next week," Heitkamp said.