Clouds

Clouds hang over Pierre on Monday as temperatures reached into the 60s. 

It was warm but it wasn’t a record. Not even close.

Monday’s high of 61 degrees in Pierre fell short of the record high for the date of 73 degrees set in 1982. But nobody was complaining.

While we might not see the 60s again for a while, the next couple of weeks — other than this weekend — are shaping up to be almost as nice.

And what wouldn’t be when you consider last week’s deep freeze, which saw a string of below-zero lows.

“What we had was extremely cold air that normally sits close to the North Pole come down to the area over the last couple of weeks,” said Kari Fleegel, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Aberdeen. She said some people call it the polar vortex.

What Pierre is seeing now is warmer air out of the Southwest.

A cold front Tuesday will drop temperatures about 10 degrees, to the low 50s, but that’s still warmer than the February average of 37 degrees.

Tuesday’s weather could bring a bit of isolated rain or snow, “but we’re not expecting much out of it,” Fleegel said. “Any sort of cooldown now is going to be quite different in contrast to what we had last week.”

The weekend will see temperatures closer to normal for this time of year but next week will warm up again to the mid-40s.

Reaching into March is a big question mark, according to the SDSU Extension. It’s March forecast is “up in the air” for rain and temperature, with potential swings in either direction.

”According to the latest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) outlook, there is no clear, consistent signal if South Dakota will end up warmer or colder than average, or wetter or drier than average next month,” according to the SDSU Extension.

March through May, the service foresees “that most of South Dakota will be warmer than average.”

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