Early 2022 appears to be one of the windiest in recent history for northeastern South Dakota

Alexandra Hardle
Aberdeen News
Powerful west winds last week turned yard fences along the northeast side of Lake Kampeska in Watertown into walls of ice. Winds up to 55mph were common.

It's been a blustery early spring across eastern South Dakota.

Kari Fleegel of the National Weather Service in Aberdeen said winds are calming down, at least compared to recent days. But they'll still be 25 mph to 30 mph as another storm system moves in Tuesday, she said.

Not exactly calm, but it's progress.

In recent days, wind gusts have been 55 mph to 65 mph across the region, said Travis Tarver of the National Weather Service. 

Corson County west of the Missouri River had the highest wind gust at 73 mph, which was recorded at 12:06 am on Thursday. Other top wind speeds from recent days reported to the NWS include:

  • Altamont in Deuel County: 68 mph at 10:27 a.m. Thursday.
  • Summit: 67 mph at 2:01 a.m. Thursday.
  • McPherson County: 67 mph at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.
  • Herreid: 66 mph at 1:26 a.m. Thursday.
  • Mobridge: 66 mph at 3:10 a.m. Thursday.
  • Miranda in Faulk County: 65 mph at 10:28 a.m. Thursday.
  • Bryant: 64 mph at 10 a.m. Thursday.
  • Brandt in Deuel County: 63 mph at 11:34 a.m. Thursday.
  • Craven Corner in Edmunds County: 63 mph at 12:03 p.m. Thursday.

The list goes on and on.

At the Aberdeen Regional Airport, the highest gust was recorded at 5:52 a.m. on Thursday at 59 mph, while the highest gust in Watertown was 55 mph on Thursday.

There's certainly evidence to suggest this has been one of the windiest springs in recent history, at least.

Fifteen wind advisories have been issued since the year began in the Sioux Falls area, according to the NWS. That's the most at this point in the year since 2006, when office started tracking them.

Previously:How cold will South Dakota's winter get? The 2022 Farmer's Almanac predicts we'll need extra warm clothes.

Sioux Falls is already halfway to the highest number of wind advisories in one year, which was in 2012, when there were 30, according to the weather service.

Such statistics weren't available for the Watertown and Aberdeen areas. But those who think it's been windier than usual aren't alone.

Fleegel said it seems like the number of high-wind advisories in northeastern South Dakota has been unusually high.

Low-pressure system powers winds

The blustery days have been the result of a low-pressure storm system that hung over North Dakota and Minnesota, Tarver said. It resulted in 2 to 3 feet of snow in some areas. The storm system was so big, it affected the weather in Nebraska, he said.

Spring and fall tend to be the windiest times of the year in northeastern South Dakota, Tarver said. As the seasons change, the clash of air masses can bring about significant gusts. While it can sometimes feel like summer is just around the corner this time of year, winter can linger until the end of April are into early May, he said.

The high winds resulted wind chills in the single digits in some areas of the region in recent days. That's unusual for this time of year, but not unheard of, said Tarver. It's also unusual for a storm system to spin over one area for several days in a row, causing such consistent high winds, he said.

More weather news:2 feet of snow in ND, thunderstorms for Aberdeen and Watertown possible with spring storm

Winds up, snow totals down

While wind speeds have been high, snowfall totals have been down.

From Oct. 1, the average snowfall in Watertown to this point in spring is about 38.6 inches historically. But this winter, Watertown has only seen 27.2 inches of snow, said Fleegel.

In Aberdeen, the historical average is 41.2 inches of snow, although the city has only had 29.3 inches this winter, she said.