Weather Officials Confirm: This Has Been The Warmest Start To A Year On Record In Many Locations

Sioux Falls, SD / Sheldon, Iowa — Does this year seem like it’s been awfully warm? Well, if it seems that way to you, you’re not wrong.

We talked with Hydrologist Mike Gillispie with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls. He’s in charge of climate data there, and he confirms, it’s been warmer than usual this year.

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He says it’s also been quite warm in Sheldon.

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He says normally the average temperature is closer to 35 degrees in Sheldon for the first half of the year. The warm dry March that we had is probably the biggest factor, he says.

Gillispie says the warm March meant farmers planted corn much earlier than usual, and that’s having an affect on the humidity now.

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Gillispie says the warm temps will probably continue, at least for the foreseeable future.

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As far as the next week or so, he says we’re going to dip into the seventies and then back up to the low 80’s, which is pretty normal for this time of year.

He says we have had several abnormal months, but it’s still too soon to say that this is caused by global warming. He says we’d have to have several years like this for it to be climate change. Plus he says, on a global scale, we’re not that far off of normal.


More information from the National Weather Service

May 2012 ranked as one of the top 10 warmest months for eight of the nine states in the Midwest region with Minnesota being the lone state outside the top 10 (18th) based on preliminary temperature data. May was warmer than normal in all nine Midwest states, continuing the string of above normal months to open the year, according to the Midwestern Regional Climate Center (http://mrcc.isws.illinois.edu) at the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS).

Although May was not a record-breaking month for the region, it contributed to the record-breaking spring (March through May) and start of the year (January through May) average temperatures in eight of the nine Midwestern states and the region as a whole. Minnesota was the only state not to break its spring and January-May records as 2012 ranked second in both cases. Statewide records dating back to 1895 indicate that nearly half of the spring and January-May records broken in 2012 were from 1921.
Spring temperatures for the Midwest region as a whole, using preliminary May temperatures, surpassed its previous 1977 record of 53.6 degrees with a new record of 55.0 degrees. Preliminary statewide values for spring were 59.3 degrees in Illinois (previous record of 57.3 degrees in 1977), 58.4 degrees in Indiana (56.8 in 1977), 56.1 degrees in Iowa (54.7 in 1977), 61.2 degrees in Kentucky (59.2 in 1921), 48.9 degrees in Michigan (48.0 in 2010), 62.0 degrees in Missouri (59.0 in 1977), 56.3 degrees in Ohio (54.5 in 1991), and 49.8 degrees in Wisconsin (49.3 in 1977). Minnesota fell 0.4 degrees short of the 1977 record of 48.6 degrees.
Start of the year (January-May) average temperatures for the Midwest region finished with a preliminary value of 44.8 degrees, beating the previous record from 1998 by a full 2.0 degrees. At the state level, average temperature values for the January-May period were 48.8 degrees in Illinois (previous record of 47.3 degrees in 1921), 48.4 degrees in Indiana (47.1 in 1921), 44.6 degrees in Iowa (43.5 in 1987), 52.3 degrees in Kentucky (51.3 in 1921), 40.0 degrees in Michigan (39.3 in 1998), 52.1 degrees in Missouri (49.5 in 1921), 47.1 degrees in Ohio (46.5 in 1998), and 39.3 degrees in Wisconsin (38.3 in 1998). Minnesota was 0.4 degrees short of the 1987 record of 37.4 degrees.
The record-breaking spring and January-May average temperatures were not limited to the Midwest. In fact, a majority of the United States east of the Rockies experienced record warmth. The warmest areas stretched from the High Plains into the Midwest.
Spring temperatures were warmest, compared to normal, in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. The warmest January-May temperatures extended from eastern North Dakota southeastward across northern Iowa.
The warm and relatively dry spring allowed many farmers across the area to get a head start on corn planting compared with 2011. As of the week ending May 20, 2012, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that seven of the nine states in the Midwest had planted over 94 percent of their corn acreage with Michigan and Wisconsin having planted 87 percent and 84 percent respectively. All states in the Midwest were ahead of their 2011 and average 2007–2011 planting percentages.
The record-breaking warm spring has not had universal positive effects on agriculture. Fruit trees and vineyards across the Midwest were heavily damaged from freezing temperatures in April. Due to the early and extended period of warm temperatures, many fruit trees began budding in March, four to six weeks earlier than normal, and then were damaged by the April frosts and freezes that occurred across the region.
The Midwestern Regional Climate Center is a cooperative program of the Illinois State Water Survey and the National Climatic Data Center (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce).

Sidewalks, No Parking Signs, Airport Improvement at Sheldon City Council Meeting Wednesday

Sidewalks will be on the agenda again when the Sheldon City Council meets Wednesday, June 20th.

At the last council meeting there was a brief discussion about sidewalks along Highway 18.   Since many people have been walking or biking along the highway to get to the area of the new Hy-Vee store the city decided to extend the sidewalk system to that area.  Now some people have asked the council  to consider a continuation of  the sidewalk as far as Country Club Road or the Fareway Store.

In other business they will consider a request for no parking signs on fourth Avenue in front of the Old Post Office building.  This was brought up at the last council meeting, but the property owners were not present to respond to some of the concerns expressed by the council.  Some Council members were concerned about large trucks interfering with traffic while loading or unloading on that side of the building.

The council will also consider a contract with McClure engineering for Airport improvements.  Wednesday’s council meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. in council chambers of the Sheldon Community Services Center.


First Sheldon Risefest Called Huge Success

Sheldon, Iowa — According to major Sheldon players, Risefest — the Christian Music Festival held in Sheldon on Saturday, went very well. We talked to Risefest Officials, City Officials, and Chamber Officials, and they all agree it was a great festival.

Rise Ministries founder and CEO Rob Roozeboom says minor miracles happened.

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Roozeboom says any problems were minor and they’re having a meeting to discuss anything they could imp rove on this week. Roozeboom says everyone stayed calm, yet were excited about the festival.

He says the crowd was a good-sized one.

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Roozeboom says several people were also served at the prayer tent.

From a Chamber point of view, SCDC Executive Director Mark Gaul says things went great.

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Sheldon Mayor Katricia Meendering gives us her perspective on the day.
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She says she was impressed in another way too.

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Speaking of next year, Rob Roozeboom says they are considering expanding the festival next year, so stay tuned for future developments.


Huntington’s Disease Foundation And Sioux Center Biotech Firm Work To Cure Huntington’s

Sioux Center, Iowa — The foundation that seeks a cure to Huntington’s disease, and a Sioux Center Biomedical company are working together on research to cure Huntington’s. CHDI Foundation, Inc. and Exemplar Genetics have announced a collaborative research agreement to create multiple miniature swine models of Huntington’s disease.

Troy Arends with Exemplar Genetics in Sioux Center says the development of models that mimic this debilitating disease and that can be used for drug discovery is anticipated to accelerate both the understanding of the disease as well as play a significant role in the development of potential therapeutics.

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He says the agreement is for the creation of two gene targeted miniature swine models of Huntington’s disease (HD), one that represents the human disease phenotype, and a second that can be used for the development of genetic based therapies. He says the money for the research comes from people’s donations to the CHDI Foundation to fight Huntington’s.

More info from Exemplar:

“We are excited to be partnering with CHDI in the development of these new models of Huntington’s disease,” said John Swart, Ph.D., president of Exemplar Genetics, a biotechnology enterprise focused on the development of gene-targeted models to enable advanced research of a number of chronic human diseases. “Our experience and that of our research partners is demonstrating that gene targeted miniature swine models have some distinct advantages over the more commonly used rodent models. Our models mimic human disease giving researchers a much clearer window into disease mechanisms and should result in accelerated therapeutic discovery.”

Exemplar currently has models of cystic fibrosis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurological disease and muscular dystrophy, has several more in its pipeline, and offers gene-targeted custom model development to groups looking to develop models for their own research purposes.

David S Howland, Ph.D., Director of In Vivo Biology CHDI says, “CHDI is pleased to support this important project for the development of new large animal models, wherein the genetic mutation is being generated in a context that is very similar to that found in HD. We hope that such models will advance our understanding of premanifest stages of HD and be useful for preclinical therapeutic studies.”

Huntington’s disease is a disorder passed down through families in which nerve cells in certain parts of the brain waste away, or degenerate.1 One out of every 10,000 Americans has HD. Approximately 200,000 Americans are at risk of developing the disease.2


Northwest Iowans Can Now Get Official Weather Alerts Via Cell Phone, Automatically, Without Signing Up

Northwest Iowa — Northwest Iowans who want to keep close tabs on weather warnings may now be able to get them on their cellular phones. The nation’s emergency alert system is starting a new program this week. Al Kenyan, a project manager with FEMA, says people need to check with their cell phone carrier to see if it’s an option to receive these potentially-life-saving alerts.

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Kenyan says it’s part of a larger effort to modernize the emergency warning system. The wireless weather alerts will let you know about things like severe thunderstorms or tornado warnings. He says Iowans should take those warnings seriously.

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The new program is through a partnership between FEMA, the FCC, the National Weather Service and cellphone carriers, and you don’t have to sign up for it or download an app — it’s automatic. Plus, it’s tower-based. So if you’re traveling in Chicago, for instance, and there’s a tornado warning there, it should automatically come across your phone.

For more information, click here.


Sibley Man Wins Car At Grand Falls Casino

Larchwood, Iowa — A Sibley man has some new wheels, courtesy of Grand Falls Casino Resort near Larchwood.

On Sunday, June 17, the winner — identified only as “Greg from Sibley” was the lucky winner of a 2012 Chevy Cruze at the casino’s Sunday Car Spectacular Promotion. The promotion runs through July 22nd and there are still 3 cars left to give away.

For more information on the promotion, visit www.GrandFallsCasinoResort.com