All was calm, and very cold, at the National Weather Service in Aberdeen on Christmas Day.
At 11 a.m. today the outside temperature was 10 below, and with 20-25 mile per hour wind and gusts, it felt like it was nearly 30 below. A three-person crew manned what looked like command central station at the weather service east of Aberdeen. The weather doesn't take holidays off, neither does the station.
"Snow pack would generally make it colder. It's much more rare for those 10 below temps to occur during the day," Renee Wise said. "It' s about 2 standard deviations below average."
Standard deviations – departures from normal averages – are measured on a scale Wise explained.
" 'Very cold' is the result," Wise said in layman's terms.
Inside the office, Wise, lead meteorologist, stayed bundled in her coat as she monitored temperatures, winds and relayed forecasts to the Aberdeen airport and area first responders. She was joined by Tim Kearns, data and acquisition program manager who handles climate data, climate equipment and cooperative observers in the area and meteorologist, Kari Sleegel.
The day shift at the weather service was pretty much business as usual. Wise thinks they have a little advantage over other 8-hour shifts.
"We say, 'Yay,' we still get to enjoy part of the day with family," Wise said.
Other shifts, especially the crew that will come in at midnight, tend to bring a little more of the holiday into the office, generally with food.
Just before the noon hour today, the focus was on combing through weather observations and satellite and radar data.
"Main story is cold weather through the week," Wise said.
Temperatures were expected to remain cold through the week with highs only breaking double digits later in the week. Thursday's forecasted high is 12. Little to no precipitation is also forecasted with Wednesday afternoon and evening showing the only possibility for more powder – a 33 percent chance. The rest of the week will be dry.
Despite the Arctic temperatures and most of the South Dakota being in a windchill advisory, there weren't any records being set for coldest Christmas Day this year. That was in 1996 with the coldest recorded temperature of 25 below. It broke the 1902 record of 23 below. Christmas Day 2017 won't even make it in the top 10.
Follow @Kelda_aan on Twitter.
Coldest Christmas: 1996 with the coldest recorded temperature of 25 below; breaking the 1902 record of 23 below.
Christmas Day blizzards in past 25 years: 1996, 2001, 2007, 2009
Snowiest Christmas: 5.1 inches in 1950
Greatest snow depth recorded on a Christmas Day: 1996 with 20 inches having accumulated so far that season.
Christmas Day 2016: A two-day ice storm with winds in excess of 60 miles per hour coated the area in up to 2 inches of ice, snapping power lines, leaving thousands to get by in the dark or on generators.