Thursday, February 2, 2012

Wacky Spearfish Weather and Groundhog Day 2012

Most of the nation woke up wondering if Punxsutawney Phil, the famous groundhog, saw his shadow. People are anxious to know if there will be six more weeks of winter or if spring is in sight. This curiosity does not lie with the citizens of Spearfish. Instead, they are left wondering if winter will ever come.

This winter has been one for the record book throughout the Midwest. The weather in Spearfish has been a steady stream of higher than normal temperatures. And not just a little, the average temperatures have been up to 20 degrees higher than normal for this time of year.

Of course, we haven’t heard any complaints about the pleasant weather. It’s been a real treat to browse the downtown shops in the sunshine, without a coat. I’ve also seen plenty of runners, bikers and hikers taking advantage of their extended sporting season.  

All this warm weather has made some snow enthusiasts skittish. But they need not despair. The northern Black Hills have seen a fair amount of snow. Spearfish Canyon—the playground for snowmobiling, snowshoeing and cross country skiing—and the ski slopes in Lead receive two-to-three times more snow than the rest of the Black Hills. Lead ski slopes have received a total snowfall of 6 ft so far this season. The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks website reports that the 350 miles of groomed snowmobile trails in Spearfish Canyon and the Black Hills are in excellent condition. You can see updates on the Spearfish Canyon webcam.

Who knows how long this wacky Spearfish weather will last. Normal temperatures for this time of year are in the 20s and 30s with sporadic blizzards. Although, it’s always been typical of Black Hills weather to have a gusty snow storm blow in two ft of snow one day and the next day the sun will shine and it will be in the 40s or 50s.

Whatever the future weather has in store, I am certainly enjoying this mild winter in Spearfish and I would encourage others to, as well. Oh, and just in case some of you are wondering, Punxsutawney Phil did see his shadow this morning—predicting six more weeks of winter for the rest of the nation.

-Jill Broecher of Visit Spearfish, Inc.