SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Winter is in the rearview mirror, and though spring is known for rain showers, it seems to some people that this year has already been a bit more grey than usual. And those people would be right — at least partly.

Whether or not the days have been more cloudy than usual depends on what you think of as “cloudy.” The National Weather Service (NWS) defines a mostly cloudy to cloudy day as one with 6/8 or greater cloud cover. A partly cloudy day is defined as having between 3/8 and 5/8 cloud cover, while a mostly fair to fair day will have 2/8 or less cloud cover.

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, mean cloud cover data from the NWS dating back to 1993 indicates that this year has actually been less “cloudy” than usual by a considerable margin.

In the first four months of this year, we have seen fewer NWS defined cloudy days than average.

  • January 2022 cloudy days: 3 — Average January cloudy days: 15
  • February 2022 cloudy days: 4 — Average February cloudy days: 14
  • March 2022 cloudy days: 10 — Average March cloudy days: 17
  • April 2022 cloudy days: 9 — Average April cloudy days: 15

Looking at it this way, the year has been decidedly uncloudy, so why doesn’t it feel that way?

Remember those partly cloudy days? Well, this year has seen a larger than average number of partly cloudy days, and when those can range from anywhere between around 30% cloud cover to almost 70% cloud cover, some of them can feel pretty cloudy.

From January 2022 through the end of April, Sioux Falls had 66 days defined as partly cloudy by the NWS.

  • January 2022 partly cloudy days: 19 — Average January partly cloudy days: 8
  • February 2022 cloudy days: 18 — Average February cloudy days: 7
  • March 2022 cloudy days: 14 — Average March cloudy days: 8
  • April 2022 cloudy days: 15 — Average April cloudy days: 8

As we can see, there were roughly twice as many “partly cloudy” days as the average in the past few months. Overall, the number of fair-mostly fair days this year has been pretty average, but with so many more partly cloudy days, it may not feel that way.

  • January 2022 fair days: 9 — Average January fair days: 8
  • February 2022 fair days: 6 — Average February fair days: 7
  • March 2022 fair days: 7 — Average March fair days: 6
  • April 2022 fair days: 6 — Average April fair days: 7

South Dakota is a pretty sunny state on average, with Sioux Falls averaging an annual 105 days of sunshine a year. Whether we fall within that average this year will remain to be seen.