From the ABC 7 Weather team

Record high temperatures hit the Northern Plains

January 5, 2012 - 02:34 PM
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After our own cold spell in the D.C. area, heat is on the way. In fact, record highs will be reached through the Northern Plains.

Update 6:45am: Adam Caskey here on Friday morning. I found this from the NWS & Minnesota Climate Group: "There has never been a 60 degree temperature recorded during the first week of January in Minnesota's modern climate record." Until yesterday, that is, as southwestern Minnesota reached the lower 60s.  Aberdeen, South Dakota reached an all time record high January temperature of 63 degrees yesterday, and that shattered their previous daily record high by 17 degrees.

As soon as I got this whole post together, I realized I flubbed a few facts on the video I posted above. So here are my corrections, already in the first line of my blog!

CITY.........       FORECAST TEMP...RECORD TEMP... YEAR SET... YEARS
ABERDEEN...........           60                               46                               1935            116
KENNEBEC...........           66                               56                               1935            106
MOBRIDGE...........           63                               49                               1939             85
PIERRE.............                65                               54                               1983            120
SISSETON...........             59                               47                               1984             80
TIMBER LAKE......           64                               50                                1983             98
WATERTOWN.......          58                               43                               1958            114

Thanks to the National Weather Service office in Aberdeen, SD for this information above as it was on their forecast discussion this morning.

My blunder in the video was that I said that Pierre, SD and a few other cities were breaking very old records. Well that was half true, as a few of those records date back 75 years. I told you the record was 120 years as I was reading the period of record (the last column on the right). Apparently I need to lay off the caffeine.

What about all-time highs for the month of January? (Thanks to the NWS office in Bismark, ND for this information)

BISMARCK....        63 ON JANUARY 08 2002.
DICKINSON...       63 ON JANUARY 23 1981.
JAMESTOWN...     56 ON JANUARY 19 1908.
MINOT.......         59 ON JANUARY 28 1906.  (60 so far)
WILLISTON...        55 ON JANUARY 23 1944.

Record Highs so far today:

Rapid City, ND: 70 degrees so far, broke the old record (2008) by 10 degrees

Minot, ND: 60 degrees is the record high for the month of January! The old record was 59 set back in 1906. (See list above)

Aberdeen, SD: 58 so far, old record was 46 set back in 1935

Here is a list of the record maximum temperatures for a given date. Be sure to select the actual date you would like to see. The 4th had a lot and so should the 5th.

Not only is it warm in that region the past few days, but the period between November 1st and January 3rd at Grand Forks, ND was the warmest on record with an average of 26.3 degrees F. The records date back to 1941. It was also the second warmest period on record for Fargo, ND and the University of North Dakota station.

Why is this happening? An unseasonably warm airmass along with west-northwesterly winds is helping to warm the air via downsloping and compression. Highs tomorrow in Rapid City should be 30 degrees colder. This same thing happens here on the east coast, but since the mountains are more like hills comparatively speaking, there is much less of an impact. This wind that downslopes down the mountains in the Plains is usually called the "Chinook wind" or "Snoweater", as when winds change directions, the snow can sometimes melt or sublimate because of the heat and such dry conditions as well.

There has already been a lack of snow across the Plains states that has been giving problems to the farmers. Currently wheat and alfalfa are doing very poor in the latest report from the Agricultural Department, though livestock is thriving due to such moderate temperatures. I guess it's time to hit up Ray's the Steaks for lunch!

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