Nine wind chill advisories issued this month
The first 12 days of February resulted in nine wind chill advisories for the Jamestown area, according to Zach Hargrove, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck.
“It has almost seemed like a daily occurance this month,” he said, referring to warnings about bitter cold conditions.
Overnight lows in Jamestown ranged from 5 below zero to 17 below zero during that period. Half of the days recorded a high of 5 degrees or colder. Average temperatures for Jamestown in mid-February are a high of 24 and a low of 5.
The temperatures during the past two weeks have lowered the averages for the entire winter, according to Daryl Richison, interim director of the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network.
“We were very close to normal through December and January,” he said. “Most areas were at average or a degree above average.”
Meteorologists classify the months of December, January and February as winter. The average temperature is calculated by averaging the high and low each day.
Records from the National Weather Service show temperatures well below those averages through Feb. 12.
“That skewed all our stats downward,” Ritchison said. “In February, most of our reporting stations were showing 5 to 10 degrees below the average.”
Those cold conditions reduced the average temperature by about 2 degrees below the average for the winter in most reporting stations in the region.
The cold weather forced livestock farmers to increase feed for their herds, according to Ryan Carlson, a rancher in the Spiritwood area.
"In February, most of our reporting stations were showing 5 to 10 degrees below the average.
DARYL RICHISON, interim director, North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network
“The intakes are a lot more,” he said, referring to the amount of feed the cattle eat. “We’re feeding between 10 and 15 percent more dry matter.”
Although the cold is increasing feed consumption, the winter has been easy in other ways, Carlson said.
“Moving snow gets to be a big chore,” he said, referring to previous winters that had higher snow accumulations. “Sometimes you had to do it twice a day other winters.”
Ritchison said recent snowstorms moving across the United States have passed south or west of the Jamestown area. That could change, although predictions are still indicating a drier than normal winter in the region.
“Even if we get two 6-inch snowfalls, which is unlikely, we would still be below average for the winter,” he said.