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Warmer temperatures for Dakotas predicted through spring

Warmer temperatures for Dakotas predicted through spring

But the outlook isn't all good news. Muddy pens are stressing cattle and winter wheat isn't getting the cover to protect it from freeze.

"The outlook for January and the next three months shows a continued trend of warmer than average temperatures across the northern states," says Dennis Todey, South Dakota State Climatologist & SDSU Extension climate specialist.

For precipitation, there are some increased chances of moisture to pass through our area in the next couple of weeks. "Most of the lower 48 states are favored to be slightly wetter than average, with the eastern states in the Ohio River and Tennessee Valley areas with the highest likelihood of wetter conditions," Todey says. 

Beyond March, the climate outlook shows drier conditions favored over the northern Rockies and the Great Lakes.

A cattleman keeps a close eye on his cows. Muddy conditions in yards and pens caused by the warmer than average temperature may stress the animals.

"South Dakota again straddles a region to the north that is forecast to be drier than average, and a region to the south that is favored to be wetter than average in Nebraska and across the southern Plains," Todey says.

Records set
Several records have already been tied or broken this month [in South Dakota], with high minimum temperatures across the region," says Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension cimate field specialist.

In South Dakota, approximately 59 new daily records were set between Dec. 9 and 13.. "On December 10 alone, 35 new records were set for high minimum temperatures all across the state, from Pactola Dam to Sisseton," Edwards says.

Three stations tied their all-time minimum temperature for all Decembers on record: Vermilion with 49 degrees on Dec. 8; Roscoe with 35 on Dec. 9; and Selby with 36 on Dec. 9.

January-March outlook.

Ag impacts
The main agricultural impacts the South Dakota climatology team is watching include winter wheat condition and the muddy conditions for feedlot cattle.

"With continued warm temperatures and wetter soils, there are muddy conditions causing some feedlot difficulties. Winter wheat is being monitored because inconsistent snow cover could expose this year's crop to frost damage if snow is not present," Edwards says.

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