Thirty years ago, I moved from Garden City, KS to Sioux Falls, SD for the National Weather Service. At the time of the move, I had only planned to be in Sioux Falls for a few years as in those days it was difficult (and maybe still is) to get promoted on site. Plus, if I'm being honest, I really didn't want to live in South Dakota longer than I had to as I always thought there would be day I would return to the Kansas City area. Three decades later, I've served four different positions at the same office (Meteorologist Intern, Forecaster, Lead Forecaster, and Information Technology Officer), found the love of my life, and raised a family.
Since 2008, I've been collecting weather observations in my backyard with a Davis Instruments Vantage Pro2 Wireless Weather Station. Beyond routine maintenance and an occasional replacement or addition of parts, the weather station has been rock solid.
Well we made it to December, but it won't be long before Sioux Falls other parts of the upper plains get hit with it's first Winter Storm. Here in Sioux Falls, the current forecast is calling around 9 inches of snow during the day Friday. Snow amounts in a forecast are subject to change as the actual event arrives but overall our local National Weather Service office does a great job in forecasting these winter storms. The above graphic and the below description is from the NWS Weather Story that was posted on their page late Thursday afternoon, December 9, 2021.
The date was December 3, 2005 and all of Sioux Falls gathered around in the neighborhood or around their television sets for this event. The Zip Feed Tower was scheduled to be demolished to make way for new real estate projects. At 202 feet, it is believed that the Zip Feed Tower at this time was South Dakota's tallest building. Explosives were used to bring down the 48 year old structure. A raffle was even held to see who would be the one to trigger the blast (proceeds going to the Dakota Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society). The raffle along with corporate sponsorship raised nearly $140,000. Thousands of people, including national media, lined up to see the tower go down. The stage was set!
Then this happened...
As some of you already know, I ride a Can-Am Spyder which is a motorcycle that is a inverse trike (two wheels in front, one wheel in back). Unfortunately, I live in South Dakota where the climate around here isn't too favorable for riding from November through March. By this time of year it's not too uncommon to see snow on the roads or temperatures well below freezing.
The normal high temperature for Sioux Falls this time of year is 37 deg F. But yesterday was a different story as afternoon temperatures on December 1, 2021 reached to a high of 61 deg F. I took advantage of these warmer temperatures by riding my Spyder at the end of my workday through downtown Sioux Falls and Falls Park as sunset approached.
With snow on the ground and long stretches of subzero temperatures, I wasn't sure I was going to get in a motorcycle ride for the month of February. Then on the second to last day of this short month, the temperatures rose to the lower-mid 40s and the roads were mainly dry. That was good enough for me as I took my 2017 Spyder RT out for a 20 mile ride from home to downtown Sioux Falls.
In the final hours of the Great Cycle Challenge, I completed my goal of riding 160 miles in the month of September. Not bad for a guy in his early 50's but I'm sure 20-something me would have been able to reach this total in half the time it took. But the truth is I probably worked harder for these miles than anytime in my life given my current weight and all the windy days I rode.
Yesterday, we just didn't get rain but also had some snow in the mix. It's days (weeks) like this that have me miss the warm days my son and I get to ride our bicycles on the city bike trails. In April we did just that and completed a 25 mile bike path with a nice stop at the Sioux Falls Waterfall.
I've taken my son on these bike rides since he was eight years old. We started out with 12 mile rides but he can now easily do 25 to 30 miles with me. He's now getting to the point that my sport is his sport and he'll hit the long bike trails even without me.
Today, I woke up the Spyder and took it out to get a drink at the local gas station. She'll be ready for some of our 50F weather this week!
My plan is to ride the Spyder for a couple weeks before I schedule her her first 3000 mile maintenance checkup. I'll be taking her to Big Sioux Powersports, our local Can-Am dealer here in Sioux Falls.
What a long winter this has been!