That's right, folks, just now the temperature is 39˚F (4˚C). High temp was 55˚F (13˚C). Tonight we have a freeze warning. Yes! It's going to get down to 32˚F (0˚C). Earlier this evening I covered my raised box garden with a sheet, with my dad's help. We also covered Mom's box gardens and Dad took in all her potted flowers.
I suppose we shouldn't be surprised. After all, our last snowfall of the year occurred on May 3, just eight days ago! This is definitely not normal. The average temperatures in May are generally around 70˚F (46˚C). (The photo of snow below was taken in Sioux Falls on Christmas Day 2010, but it could just as well have been taken in April 2013.)
|Dec. 25, 2010 by "Grizzly One"|
|Tornado in South Dakota in late May 2010|
There are two distinct climate areas in South Dakota. The northwestern and central part of the state has a semi-arid steppe climate, with low annual precipitation and lots of sunshine. The eastern half of the state, plus the Black Hills area in the extreme west and southwest experiences humid continental climate, with moderate humidity and precipitation which is distributed fairly uniformly, on average, year-round.
Summer temperatures can go over 100˚F (37.7˚C). The hottest ever recorded was on July 5, 1936, at 120˚F (49˚C). The July average is 74˚F (23˚C) but last year on July 6 we had 103˚F (39.4˚C) - the average for that day of the year is 84˚F (28.8˚C).
Winter temperatures often dip below freezing (32˚F, 0˚C) and quite often go below 0˚F (-17.7˚C). January isn't necessarily the coldest month, but the average for January is 12˚F (-11˚C). The coldest temperature on record was -58˚F (-50˚C) on February 17, 1936. (That was some weather year, with the hot and cold records recorded in the same year.)
The year 2012 was the warmest year on record in the United States. It was the second most extreme year, with Hurricane Isaac and Superstorm Sandy, plus huge outbreaks of tornadoes across the Great Plains. There were a total of 11 "disasters" in 2012 that caused over $1 billion in damage. Lack of rain contributed to widespread drought. When I visited the Black Hills in early September, the one thing that was stressed to tourists over and over again was the extreme danger of wildfires. Camping areas had a strict ban on fires, even inside camping lodges.
The picture below shows the damage to corn crops in the summer of 2012 because of the drought.
|Image credit: Myriam Moran 2012|
The summer is supposed to bring us slightly cooler than normal temperatures, with near-normal rainfall. Considering that we are still in drought mode, it looks like we will have a poor harvest again this year. We are slated for fewer tornadoes than normal this year. September and October are supposed to be warmer than normal. We should get less snow next winter, which will not do anything to help the general drought. Campers may have to skip making campfires again this summer, and that means no toasted marshmallows.
My garden should be OK, as long as I water it well. The cooler weather will help some. :-/