Does South Dakota Have the Most Extreme Weather in the Country?
If you have lived in South Dakota for at least the last year you have seen some fairly extreme weather. If you have lived here for the last ten years you know how absolutely bananas our weather is. But do we have the most extreme weather?
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration ranked the states with the climate extremes index or CEI. The index is measured with temperature extremes, precipitation, snowfall, hurricane, and tornadic activity.
South Dakota ranked number five for most extreme weather in the United States. While we don't have the hurricanes they get in the southeastern portion of the country, we have among the greatest temperature extremes of any of the states.
The highest recorded temperature in recorded history in South Dakota was 120 degrees. The lowest ever is -58. Our largest ever 24-hour snowfall was 52 inches, and we get an average of 4.7 tornadoes per 10,000 square miles.
Minnesota has the second most extreme weather. While South Dakota has a wider and colder lowest temp, and a slightly smaller range, the land of 10,000 lakes gets more tornadoes on average than South Dakota does. And while they don't have as big of a largest snowfall ever as South Dakota, I bet the big ones coming off Lake Superior are far more frequent than big snows in the Black Hills.
The state with the most extreme weather may be surprising, but if you think about it, it totally makes sense. California tops the list of most extreme weather. The highest temp there was a whopping 134 degrees, but the coldest temp was a shocking -45. I always forget about the snowy mountainous areas of the nation's most populous state.
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