Today's mild weather is bucking the odds a bit. Usually when the snow is deep on the ground, it is very difficult for the air over that snow to warm more than 2 to 3 degrees above freezing. Today, Sunday, Feb. 2, parts of our area will be getting temperatures 6 to 12 degrees above freezing. This is happening because very warm air is coming down from a couple thousand feet up where the temperatures today are in the 40s and 50s.
Across the western Dakotas yesterday and today, temperatures this warm and warmer are occurring at the surface because the air coming down from aloft is not encountering snow cover and so it's realizing its full potential. Locally, the deep snow is still having an effect, but the air coming into contact with the snow is warmer than what we usually get in midwinter. If only we could take a ride in a hot air balloon today; then we could experience temperatures around 50 degrees.