You’ve probably heard it at least a dozen times this week as exasperated and half-frozen South Dakotans stumble into buildings and, while half-heartedly laughing, state, “Boy, it’s sure cold out there, isn’t it?”
They’re right, the temperatures and wind chills don’t lie; it’s been extremely cold outside, even to the point of being life-threatening.
The week started off with a brief snowstorm that brought approximately 1-2” of snow, a coating of ice from a wintry mix, and winds of sufficient force to cause blowing snow back on Sunday, January 27 into Monday, January 28. Things went downhill from there as temperatures plummeted throughout the week. Wind chills fell down to the -30 and - 40 range on Tuesday. Daytime highs on Tuesday remained below 0. Wednesday was when things started getting extra-chilly. Wind chills dropped down to -47 in the morning with air temperatures floating around -25.
Records were smashed this week around the state. Nearby Sioux Falls came super close to breaking their record, according to the NWS, with an observed low on Jan. 30 of -25 temperature with a record of -27 in 1899. The record low was tied at -11, which also happened in 1918.
According to the National Weather Service, wind chills and temperatures at the levels the area experienced were capable of causing frost bite on exposed skin in a little as 5 - 10 minutes.
Schools around the area were canceled out of caution to keep students safe, with the Tea Area School district having dismissed classes three hours early on Tuesday, January 29 and having canceled classes on Wednesday, January 30.