Archive for September 2006

A Weatherman's Voter Guide

Posted: Thursday, September 28, 2006 at 12:00 am
By: Administrator
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As far as I am concerned, all of the persuasive, arm-twisting electioneering can stop. Since I am a decisive person, I already know how I am going to vote on every candidate and ballot issue in November, except one: the proposal to start school after Labor Day.
Because I am the father of two grade school age daughters, one could make the case that this issue will directly impact me more than anything else on the ballot. The outcome will determine what I do with my children every late summer or early spring until they are grown up. So I began to wonder how my children would wish me to vote.
When I was a kid in Minnesota, school always started the day after Labor Day. It was consistent, set in stone, and got me hating Jerry Lewis. When I saw that guy doing his telethon, it was my 48 hour warning for the end of freedom. Even in college, Labor Day ended summer vacation. It also was the last day of the Minnesota State Fair, ensuring that many of us had jobs and spending money to start the school year. I worked very long hours at the fair, even sleeping there occasionally, to squeeze out some extra cash in the hours before my return to campus.
Currently schoolchildren in Sioux Falls begin school in mid-August. They go back to the classroom when our climatic normal high is 84 degrees, pretty nice weather. Not too hot, sometimes a little humid. They get out of school in late May when it is still cool, normal high 72 degrees. Presumably if school starts in September, kids would be in class through May and perhaps into early June, meaning they would gain some more warm vacation days but give up some cool vacation days in return.
Since the issue is going to a public vote, I know there are people who are passionate about the school start date, such as those involved in agriculture, or my neighbor Roy the schoolteacher. So for guidance I consulted my nine year old, who frowned at the idea of starting school a couple weeks later. I asked why, and she said it would mean she would be in school on the days before my birthday (June 5th). I guess she needs the extra time to buy my present.

First Snow???

Posted: Wednesday, September 27, 2006 at 12:00 am
By: Administrator
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One look around your neighborhood and you’ll see many trees have already started their fall turnover.  It won’t be long before the hum of leaf blowers and the scratching of rakes overtake the noise of talking neighbors and children playing.  With fall in full swing, it seems like we toil with frost being more and more of a possibility.  That might get some people thinking (at least me) when the first snow will come, any bets on the first snow? 
If you’re a believer in the “90 days after a thick fog, expect snow to fly” thing…here’s a couple of tidbits to chew on…
I checked the archive data for July through September, looking for days with fog with reduced visibility to a quarter mile or less.  Four dates popped…July 12th and 26th, August 6th, and September 12th.  90 days beyond those four dates are October 10th, 24th; November 4th; and December 11th. 
Well our earliest significant snow (2” or more) in Sioux Falls, fell on October 1st of 1999.  So, having snow on October 10th is possible.  With our recent weather pattern of Alberta Clippers every couple of days…wouldn’t catch me by surprise if some flakes fly.  October 24th sounds better (if for nothing else…just because it’s later in the month…and typically colder).   We’ll have to wait and see…the heaviest snow in October was back in 1991.  The infamous Halloween blizzard!  Sioux Falls ended up with 10” in the books for October 31st that year, with a storm total of 11.2”.
The last two dates (according to fog calculations) are November 4th and December 11th.  Again, we’ll wait and see, but the average first date for measurable snow for Sioux Falls is November 2nd.

Rainfall Soaks KELOLAND

Posted: Monday, September 25, 2006 at 11:28 am
By: Administrator
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You may be wondering how much rain we saw last week.  Well….here are a few of the numbers.  These are 3 day rainfall totals from September 21st-23rd.SIBLEY, IA…1.86"SHELDON, IA…2.07"MARSHALL, MN…1.00YANKTON…0.94BROOKINGS…0.78HURON….0.89CHAMBERLAIN…2.09MITCHELL…1.65WINNER…2.25PHILIP…1.83CUSTER…1.55BUFFALO…1.11RAPID CITY…1.29SIOUX FALLS…1.76ABERDEEN SD… 1.21PIERRE SD….. 1.33MOBRIDGE SD… 1.40WATERTOWN SD.. 1.15SISSETON SD… 1.79KENNEBEC SD……… 1.47TIMBER LAKE SD…… 2.02ARTICHOKE LAKE MN… 0.98BLUNT SD………… 1.15BROWNS VALLEY MN…. 1.10SAND LAKE REFUGE SD. 1.20CLEAR LAKE SD……. 1.91CONDE SD………… 1.23IPSWICH SD………. 1.13MURDO SD………… 1.55ROSCOE SD……….. 1.32VICTOR SD……….. 1.55WHEATON MN………. 1.28WILMONT SD………. 1.77AGAR 1N SD………. 1.03CHELSEA 1S SD……. 1.31DOLAND SD……….. 1.37GROTON 7W SD…….. 1.50HAYES 6E SD……… 1.60HECLA SD………… 1.23HOSMER 11E 2S SD…. 1.37HOUGHTON 4S SD…… 1.07ORTONVILLE MN……. 1.46REE HEIGHTS 5S SD… 1.65REE HEIGHTS 15S SD.. 1.71TINTAH MN……….. 1.07TWIN BROOKS 4WSW SD. 1.39That’s a lot of rain for the region!  More showers are possible this week, but the rainfall looks much lighter.

Weather For A Duck???

Posted: Saturday, September 23, 2006 at 12:00 am
By: Administrator
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“I’ll never complain about rain in South Dakota.” 
As long as I’m forecasting, that’s a saying I’ll never forget.  That was spoken to me, by an elderly gentleman about 5 or 6 years ago.
Do ducks even like this weather?  Next week starts duck hunting and if they haven’t starting moving with the cold air from earlier this week and this weekend’s rain and cool air maybe hunters will have plenty to aim for. 
By about midweek, another cold front will sweep across the upper plains; though not as strong as last week’s…this one still might be strong enough to get the birds moving in from the north.  BUT, drier air and warmer temperatures will arrive a day or two later…taking us to the opener on Saturday. 
After going through the hot and dry summer (especially in central/north central South Dakota), we need some ‘duck’ weather.  Even though we are looking at the fifth straight weekend of at least a trace of rain for Sioux Falls, I can’t help but wonder if those words are still being spoken by the same elderly gentleman that spoke them to me.  For some reason, I’m sure they are.

At The End Of Two Rainbows

Posted: Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 12:00 am
By: Administrator
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We are grateful for the weather pictures our viewers send us. It really helps, especially when there is breaking severe weather, to describe what is going on when we can show a picture on the air rather than simply broadcast the resulting radar image.You will also see a lot of weather-related photos of rainbows in the weather section of the photo gallery at While rainbows are not uncommon, they always seem to have a reassuring look when they appear in the calm after the storm.In the past two weeks, I have seen two particular rainbow pictures that have struck me as especially impressive. The first was taken by our friend and sometimes chase partner Paul Schiller. He was with Shawn and Brian when they chased the tornadoes near Huron on August 24th. To me, this picture sums up South Dakota weather in one picturesque view. You have a tornado on the right side, produced by a thunderstorm that also creates rainfall, which leads to the rainbow on the left of the screen. The whole expanse of sky hangs over a healthy stand of corn in the foreground.I showed Paul’s photo during a presentation at a weather conference in Europe, and the German-based editor of a world weather calendar asked if that picture could be included in the next edition. We’ll see what Paul says.The second rainbow was captured on video tape by KELO photographer Josh Munce. He was at the Vietnam War Memorial dedication in Pierre when a thunderstorm rolled through. The storm sent attendees scurrying for cover, as a severe thunderstorm warning had been issued. But after the rain passed a somewhat less-common 180 degree rainbow appeared, appearing to hug the memorial. It was almost as if God himself had painted the picture.Our photo gallery is set up so everyone can share their favorite pictures of news, weather, sports, and slices of life in KELOLAND. And now, those of you who are video photographers will be able to upload those as well in the uShare section of our website. Whether you shoot still pictures or moving pictures, we look forward to seeing more of your best stuff in our gallery in the months and years to come.

F-2 Foments Football Fans' Furor

Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 at 12:00 am
By: Administrator
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Saturday afternoon during the SEC college football game, we broke into game coverage briefly to talk about developing thunderstorms in southeastern South Dakota. No warnings were yet posted, but as scientists we knew the atmosphere had the potential to rapidly produce tornadoes.
Later in the game (third quarter score: Auburn 7-LSU 3), we made the decision to preempt the game altogether to enter storm coverage for what we believed was an imminent tornado outbreak in eastern South Dakota. Unfortunately that turned out to be correct, with nine tornadoes doing up to F-2 damage on several homes and farmsteads. We were on the air to make sure those in the path of those tornadoes got the best possible information. At KELOLAND TV, breaking news and breaking weather is what we do. It has always been our number one priority, no matter what program is on the air.
A sampling of the viewer feedback we received via email:
“Give your warnings, scroll information on the bottom, then get back to the LSU game!!! You weather guys are so into yourselves.”
“Kudos to KELO’s continued successful commitment that viewers everywhere throughout South Dakota come to for the best severe weather coverage.”
“Wonder why no other stations are monopolizing airtime? Oh, right I know possibly because they understand their viewers would rather watch football than listen to your guys continuously ramble on and on and on.”
“Once again, the weather team did an outstanding job this weekend.” 
“I am just frustrated to the fact that there is a big game going on and the weather is cutting it off.”
“Why is it that KELO is the only station that ever interrupts a broadcast for lengths of time to give weather updates when the other stations can do it during a commercial?”
“I would almost bet that the ones complaining about their football game being interrupted did not live in the storm’s path.”
“Every city on the planet, that have intelligent people working for it, features weather insets on the tv where you can show weather events and people who are MORE interested in real college football games, can still see the game even in muted mode.”
“In my opinion, a thunderstorm does not constitute breaking news. It isn’t like people can’t read the already substantial portion of the screen you command at the bottom.”
“The people who appreciate how you guys attempt to predict something as unpredictable as tornadoes – and take the time to warn us – vastly outnumber the few complainers!”
In fairness to those who disagreed with our decision, here are some things they may not know:
– At the start of the outbreak, the National Weather Service radar at Sioux Falls airport was down for repair. Since both our Huron and Beresford live radars were closer to the tornadoes than the NWS radars in Omaha and Aberdeen, we wanted to make absolutely sure forecasters and emergency managers got to see our live radar data, should they need.
– Our storm chaser Shawn Cable was ideally positioned to give us live reports over the air of those tornadoes, which were screaming forward at a speed of about 40 miles per hour. His descriptions of the tornadoes as they touched down helped our viewers grasp the severity of the fast moving twisters and the urgency for those endangered to take cover.
– Contrary to what email writers suggested, in most television markets in the United States ALL stations would have been on the air with continuous live coverage from the moment tornadoes were spotted. Trust me.
– Final score: Auburn 7-LSU 3.

Tornado Review…

Posted: Monday, September 18, 2006 at 5:16 pm
By: Administrator
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I must say Saturday was quite a day…for those of us in the studio and for those that witnessed the power of the storms up close.  Shawn Cable saw the Salem tornado…and a stormchaser from Colorado caught some amazing video of this storm…finding him and the tornado.You can watch it here: can also find a blog from all the storm chasers that visited KELOLAND at this link:

I think it’s safe to say this was a big outbreak.  We’ll be posting more information about the tornadoes….so keep checking back with us on our blog page.By the way…no one was killed from these storms…something we should all be thankful for.

Changing of the Seasons…

Posted: Friday, September 15, 2006 at 6:36 pm
By: Administrator
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The weather is making a dramatic change toward fall…but that’s the way it usually happens in KELOLAND.   One of cooler spots will be Aberdeen.  The national weather service put together some numbers about average frost dates and the first snow of the year.  Here’s a sample.

Earliest Frost

Average Date for Frost (32ºF)

Average Date for Freeze (28ºF)

Earliest Snowfall

Average Date for 0.1 inches

30 08/29/1893



Trace 09/06/1992


The earliest frost date for Aberdeen is over hundred years old. The most recent first frost was on August 31st 1987 when the temperature fell to 32 degrees. The first frost last year occurred on September 28th with a temperature of 32 degrees. The earliest snowfall other than a trace was on September 21st 1995 when 0.2 inches of snow fell. The first snowfall last year was on October 5th when a trace was recorded.For the complete list, visit this link:

A Conversation With BK

Posted: Wednesday, September 13, 2006 at 12:00 am
By: Administrator
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BK (Brian Karstens) and I had an interesting conversation yesterday afternoon.  Topics included: home improvement, the upcoming winter, and this weekend’s weather.
TOPIC 1:  BK and I regularly talk about what we’re doing with our home improvement projects.  He’s a regular Tim Taylor around the house, but I do recall letting him ‘borrow’ hedge trimmers and paint primer.  Well, I’m not planning on using either one of those until spring…so have at it BK!
TOPIC 2:  “El nino is coming, el nino is coming”, BK yells as he gallops through the streets of Sioux Falls.  This, of course, will have an impact on our coming winter, which leads to a winter prediction.  Ah, the time when people ask what I (possibly) know about the upcoming winter and how much snow to expect.  I may give somewhat of a hint to a select few (sometimes this does or does not include telling my wife), but we (BK and I) typically throw ideas off each other and the weekend meteorologist is the one who comes up with THE prediction.  So far I’m one for three…hey, if I played Major League baseball I’ll be a millionaire with a .333 average!  Maybe even help the Chicago Cubs stay out of the cellar.  But I digressed; we’ll be busy with researching the coming winter, and depending how I feel and how much I want to reveal…I might post something here.  Until then, mark you calendars for November 13…the KELOLAND Live Doppler Winter Special will air at 6:30pm.  (Okay, so it’s a shameless selfish promotion!)  Giddy-up BK!  Giddy-up!
TOPIC 3:  Oh yeah…this weekend’s weather.  We sometimes have a hard enough time getting tomorrow and the next day right, how do we know what will happened this weekend or let alone this winter.  But things are coming together to get one of those old fashioned thunderstorms in the east, with SNOW (yes, snow will be possible in the higher elevations of the Hills) in the west.  We typically see one or two of these every spring and fall.  Like always, we’ll wait and see.

El nino…The "Real" Story

Posted: Monday, September 11, 2006 at 10:42 am
By: Administrator
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I woke up to a chill in the house this morning…enough so to turn the furnace on for the first time!  OK…so it’s not winter just yet, but it got me to thinking that winter isn’t so far away! 
Scot usually does the official winter forecast, but I’ll let you in on one of our little secrets to track the winter weather patterns.  Itf you like numbers, keep reading!  The southern ocillation index (SOI) is a great way to track general weather trends. 


When the 90 day moving average of the SOI is in the negative range,  we trend toward on elnino.  Guess what?   The charts show we have one right now.  That’s a big difference from earlier this year when the index was positive.  That helped contribute to the summer drought.
So what does this mean for the winter?  If it stays around, we’ll have a better chance of wetter and warmer than normal winter weather in the plains…which is fine by me!