Author: Mary Knapp

You can see some really large temperature variation during the winter months. Last week, western Kansas saw temperatures go from highs in the single digits to highs in the 60s. But that doesn’t compare to the swings seen in South Dakota in 1943. On January 20th of that year wild vertical shifts took place in the Black Hills of South Dakota. While the temperature at Deadwood was a frigid 16 degrees below zero, the town of Lead, just a mile and a half away, but 600 feet HIGHER in elevation, reported a balmy 52 degrees. Two days later, chinook winds during the early morning hours caused the temperature at Spearfish SD to rise from 4 below zero to 45 above in just two minutes. This is the most dramatic rise in world weather records. An hour and a half later the mercury plunged from 54 above to 4 below zero in 27 minutes.

Spearfish Canyon, Spearfish SD (USGS)

Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library