January was second-snowiest in Sioux Falls weather history

The foot of snow that kicked off 2023 gave the month a headstart on snowfall totals.

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The snow accumulation in Sioux Falls, approximately 9 a.m., Jan. 3, 2023.
Patrick Lalley / Sioux Falls Live

SIOUX FALLS — January in Sioux Falls was marked by a wide variety of weather conditions, breaking two daily snowfall records as part of the second-snowiest January on record, according to data from the National Weather Service.

After a warm New Years Day, Mother Nature dumped 5.5 inches of snow at the Sioux Falls airport on Jan. 2, followed by an additional 7.5 inches on Jan. 3. Those numbers, both records for their respective calendar days, combined for a 12.2-inch total in less than 24 hours, the highest ever recorded at the airport in the month of January.

Though 12.2 inches of snow in a 24-hour period isn’t much, it’s a lot for January. Archived data from the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls indicates that the last time the city saw 12 or more inches in a day in January was an overnight snowfall Jan. 3-4, 1897, which dropped a flat foot of powder.

The foot of snow that kicked off 2023 gave the month a headstart on snowfall totals. By the end of January, 21.4 inches of snow had fallen, the second-highest snowfall total for January on record. January 1929 edged 2023 for the all-time record, with 22.2 inches of snow.

And then there was the fog, which stuck around for 25 of the month’s 31 days, 11 of which saw particularly dense fog, which had some minor travel impacts for its duration, as visibility had fallen to as little as 50 feet in some areas.


Though temperatures saw significant swings in both directions over the month — reaching as high as 39 degrees and as low as 13-below — January’s average temperature leveled out to just one-tenth of a degree below-normal.

Significant cold snaps at the beginning and end of the month saw temperatures depart from normal by as many as 23 degrees, but were balanced out by a mid-month warming with temperatures stretching to roughly 17 degrees above-normal.

And while February has started out cold in the Sioux Falls area, meteorologists from the Climate Prediction Center are calling for above-average temperatures for the next six to 10 days with near-normal values expected for the remainder of the month.

Additional data from January’s weather trends can be found on the National Weather Service’s website, while additional forecasting material can be found on the Climate Prediction Center’s website.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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