SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The leaves have just started fading into oranges, reds and yellows and many people have already started wondering: When will it snow?
First, let’s look at when temperatures across the area will cool down. KELOLAND meteorologist Brian Karstens explained Hurricane Ian is currently slowing down weather patterns, which in turn is stalling rain patterns.
“I would actually say next week when it turns colder, like when we actually get our first really cool snap here, probably about seven, eight days away. A lot of that is going to be driven by some of the amplification and the jet stream patterns because once Ian gets absorbed into the general flow of weather across the northern hemisphere, it’ll probably jog some colder air down here,” Karstens said.
Temperatures will begin to fall into more seasonal numbers throughout October according to KELOLAND meteorologist Scot Mundt, who says sweater weather is on its way.
Looking back at past Octobers in Sioux Falls, snowfall isn’t too common with the earliest significant snowfall happening on October 1, 1999 when 2.7 inches of snow fell. But out west, the Black Hills tend to see snow fall much earlier and Karstens said we can expect to see some snow in the Hills in the next two months.
“But even looking at Spearfish, today, just pluck that out, for example, looking ahead the next 45 days, so let’s round it out October 1 to the middle of November, we already see substantial evidence of plowable snow in the Black Hills,” Karstens predicted.
Of course, nobody can forget the 1991 Halloween Blizzard that stretched into November. That event brought in 10 inches of snow in October that year with 11.2 inches total throughout the two-day event.
That event was an anomaly in terms of October snowfall. Mundt said that on average, October usually sees under two inches of snowfall during the month.
“And you know, we can get a couple of hits here and there that can add up to maybe around two inches of snowfall. We can get it all at once. I think it was October 1 of… 2007 that we had 2.7 inches of snowfall. And then that was it for the month of October,” Mundt said.
Breaking the trend of mild winters
South Dakotans have gotten used to warm Octobers and Novembers in the past several years. It’s a trend that has become the norm, according to Mundt.
“The thing about this year is we’re going into our third consecutive La Nina type of year. And it seems like when that has happened in the past, that third year really tries to break the mold there as to what we’ve had in the past couple of winters,” Mundt said.
Over the last few winters, Mundt said we’ve had what can be called “easier winters” with occasional snow events mixed in.
“We had that record April of snowfall in southeastern KELOLAND and not that long ago, we had you know, the Christmas blizzard of ‘09 and even going back to ‘91 with the Halloween Blizzard; we’ve had these certain highlights throughout the year for these winters, it’s just hasn’t really been sustained because we can get a storm early on. And then we can warm up again, the snow is gone,” Mundt said.
But will that trend continue?
“Will this one end up being a little different as compared to what we’ve had of recent memory? That’s an answer that I’ll give you come November during the Winter Special,” Mundt said.
Karstens is interested in seeing how November will shape up after several years of quiet, mild months.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a rougher November forecast in terms of colder weather and snow. And so, we’re starting to look at October and see how that aligns with all of that thinking. So, yeah, it’s gonna be an interesting time period to get into this forecast,” Karstens said.