Yep, more snow.
Mitchell received 4 inches of additional snow through the overnight hours into Wednesday, as yet another snow storm blew through the area. And the short-term forecast for the coming week calls for more snow, while the outlook for the next two weeks calls for below-normal temperatures.
In that case, it looks like the snow will be sticking around for a while. As of midnight Wednesday - not counting this most recent snowstorm - Mitchell has received 33.7 inches of snow this season, according to the National Weather Service. February had already included 7 inches of snow to go along with nearly 6 inches in January and more than 18 inches in December.
And there hasn’t been many chances to melt that snow away. Since Feb. 1, Mitchell has been above freezing (32 degrees) twice, a 37-degree day on the first day of the month and a 52-degree day on Feb. 2
That contrasts sharply with last month, in which January had 13 days with a high above 32 in Mitchell, and the average high for the month was 26.
Tim Masters, a technician at the NWS offices in Sioux Falls, said the region has stayed below freezing with below-normal temperatures.
“Really, this time of year, we should be starting to recover, and for normal temperatures, should be around 35 at the end of February,” Masters said. “We’re going to remain below normal, a couple more weeks into March. … It’s been in here since mid-January.”
On Wednesday, South Dakota State Climatologist Dennis Todey noted that the six- to-10-day temperature outlook calls for well-below normal temperatures to continue into early March throughout the Northern Plains and Midwest states. He said on Twitter that the train of storms finally seems to easing, but the Dakotas could expect a slow snow melt because of cold temperatures.
The forecast calls for more snow, according to NWS. Snow is likely Thursday night, with a 60 percent chance of precipitation, with snow likely throughout Friday and Friday night, and a chance of snow on Saturday.
“We’ve had a southwest flow of air and it’s bringing every little system through our area,” said Masters, who noted that the Mitchell area will likely get at least a few inches out of the Thursday-Friday snow event.
Other regional snow estimates from Wednesday included 5.5 inches in Tyndall, 4.8 inches of snow in Armour and 3.7 inches near Pickstown, according to the National Weather Service.
Tea received 10.5 inches of snow Wednesday, the most in South Dakota, while Brandon and Garretson each received 10 inches of snow. Sioux Falls and Madison also had more than 7 inches of snow, as well.
The snowfalls have also meant for a busy winter for snow removal personnel. Wednesday marked the sixth time this year Mitchell has called for a snow emergency, which involves continuous plowing of main, or emergency, routes through the city. That is generally followed by curb to curb plowing throughout the city. The city has also twice issued alerts making residents aware that the sidewalk snow removal policy is being enforced, most recently on Feb. 13.
Code Enforcement Officer Wade London said there were 17 tickets for snow removal nuisances in the month of December, while January saw a total of 24 in the city of Mitchell.
According to the city of Mitchell’s sidewalk ordinance, occupants or owners of any premise in the city, adjacent to any sidewalk, is to remove snow or ice from the sidewalk within 48 hours after the fall of snow and ice. London said the nuisances trend up and down with the number of snowstorms Mitchell receives.
“We don’t have very many for February thus far, but every time we go to do a sidewalk snow removal ordinance, it starts to snow,” London said. “But once the snow quits, it will be busy.”
Similarly, the South Dakota Department of Transportation reminded the public Wednesday about illegally dumping snow in highway right of ways. Violating that anti-dumping law is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
“The state has seen some significant snowfall the last few weeks and more snow is expected the next few days,” said Public Information Officer Kristi Sandal. “The space within the right of way needs to be reserved for future snowfall so the department’s plow operators have a place to put that snow. If the ditches are full from snow dumped by private and commercial entities, it severely hampers the department’s ability to clear roadways and make them safe for travel.”
And there is some comparative good news, in that Mitchell had 61.3 inches of snow a year ago. The bad news? That number was weighed down heavily with 22.7 inches of snow falling in April.