Dakota Farmer

Weather outlook: Cool temperatures remain throughout March

More cold weather means more snowpack buildup, which could lead to spring flooding.

March 5, 2019

2 Min Read
closeup of outdoor thermometer
COOL CONTINUED: Temperatures will likely stay below average throughout March.

No one knows yet if planting will be delayed this spring, but the latest weather outlook indicates that the odds favor cooler-than-normal temperatures continuing through March.

The current weather pattern “tilts the odds” toward lower-than-average temperatures overall for the month ahead, according to Laura Edwards, South Dakota State University Extension State climatologist.

The outlook for March 2019 from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center shows that most of the north-central and Great Plains states are favored for colder-than-average temperatures.

“There is some indication that in early March this wet pattern will subside and turn drier,” Edward says. “Unfortunately, there is not a lot of confidence in the latter part of the month. As a result, there are equal chances for wetter, drier or near-average precipitation.”

Flood potential this spring
Southeast South Dakota is holding a lot of moisture from 2018 in the soils. “Even if we experienced average winter precipitation, this region of the state is likely to flood again this spring when snowpack melts,” Edwards says.

In northeast and east-central South Dakota, 4 to 8 inches of moisture is currently held in the snowpack.

“The longer we hold onto cold temperatures, the more likely it is that we will have a rapid warm up when spring temperatures do arrive, which suggests much of eastern South Dakota will see some minor to moderate flooding in the James, Vermillion and Big Sioux River Valleys,” Edwards says.

The National Weather Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are keeping a close eye on snowpack conditions throughout the Missouri River system and will be issuing flood updates as the snowmelt season begins.

There is a significant risk of major flooding in the Red River Valley and Devils Lake basins.

Source: SDSU and National Weather Service, which are solely responsible for the information provided and are wholly owned by the sources. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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