Wind chill: Winter bares its bitter cold

Wind chill: Winter bares its bitter cold
Southeastern South Dakota received a taste of winter drudgery last weekend, with below zero temperatures and howling gusts that sent wind chills plummeting.

Turns out that nasty nip of weather may have just been the tip of the iceberg. More cold weather is on its way: the initial blast of frigid air will descend on the region Thursday night and Friday morning.

By this weekend, according to conservative estimates from the National Weather Service, winter will tighten its grip, with mercury levels falling below zero.

According to Jeff Chapman, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Sioux Falls, a large scale weather pattern has changed over the past week from one that featured a strong southern stream of air because of El Nino, to one where the flow of air is amplified directly from the north pole.

According to a forecast bulletin issued by the weather service Wednesday, it will be dangerously cold in the Vermillion area Friday through Tuesday morning.

A blast of cold air was predicted to move in Thursday night accompanied by winds of 20 to 30 miles per hour, with wind chills possibly as low as 20 below zero.

A reinforcing shot of even colder air will move in Friday night with wind chills possibly as cold as 35 below zero Friday night into Saturday morning.

Cold air will be reinforced again on Sunday night with another period of wind chills of 20 below to 30 below zero possible.

"One thing that's going to catch many people off guard is that it's been about a decade since we've seen this cold of an air mass coming in for this long of a period of time," Chapman said. "We really have to look back to the winter of 1996 and 1997 to find a time that matches up in terms of duration and intensity."

The weather service advises citizens to avoid outdoor activity during the extremely cold weather.

Citizens are also advised to take time to check on the elderly and to not allow pets to remain outside for an extended period.

"The important thing to remember is to limit your time out in the cold," Chapman said.

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