Walking in a Warmer Winter Wonderland

Holly Leske

It may be January, but what’s happened to the South Dakota winter? So far this year it seems holiday songs could have be changed from “Let it Snow” to “Where’s the snow?”

People may be humming that new tune for a while as the weather outlook into the New Year continues the dry, warm pattern Brookings has been experiencing. The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls said the chances for snow look rare in the near future.

The thermometer may see a dip soon as there is a chance a cold front could move in toward the middle of the month. As a result, it will soon feel like winter, despite the lack of snow. Other climatologists are hopeful for snow to show up later in the winter months.

“Our highest precipitation is in February and March, thus no snow is not a major surprise,” said SDSU Associate Professor and State Climatologist Dennis Todey. “We have plenty of time.”

The dry, warm winter has affected the city and SDSU in a positive way by saving on the City’s snow budget.

“We had money left for two snowfalls in 2011,” said Brookings Finance Manager, Rita Thompson. “We were kind of worried that wouldn’t last us.”

The city budget for winter maintenance runs on the calendar year, with a new budget starting in 2012, saving the department money from what was left over in 2011. Extra funds go towards the Brookings general fund, and the money saved from the snow removal budget can supplement any variety of city projects.

“Anytime it doesn’t snow, we’re saving money,” said Thompson.

SDSU students have had a similar reaction to the weather, although some longed for the white Christmas of years past.

Alyssa Johnson, a sophomore nursing major, said, “I like there being no snow so walking to class is easier.”

Sophomore apparel merchandising major, Laura Beth Bartscher, hopes for the weather to change soon and wouldn’t mind some snowy weather.

“A part of me wants it to come now, because I don’t want snow in the middle of April,” she said.

Other students joked about the weather, like Poland native Konstancja Szymaἠska, who is studying Spanish and global studies at SDSU for the year, writing, “As we know, Global Warming finally got to South Dakota, too.”

Despite the overall positive feelings of some students toward warmer temps, others who depend on the snow for work had less money in their pockets around the holiday season. Willy Olson, a senior business economics major at SDSU, is one person whose moonlighting for the private Brookings snow removal company, BR Snow, has grinded to a halt. With no snow on the ground, BR Snow has no clients, meaning no extra cash for Olson.

“It’s something that’s unexpected,” Olson said “especially in South Dakota.”

This dry weather could cause implications for the distant future, as dreams of summer break fill student’s minds and crops once again take hold of the South Dakota landscape. Because the moisture in the fall is what truly affects the soil come spring, a lack of snow in the winter may not be enough to cause a change in the soil this crop season.

The greatest effect of no snow this winter would be a lowered chance of flooding, said Todey.