25 Market St   Aberdeen, SD 57401

Office Hours 8:00-5:00 M-F

Main menu

You are here

Unit 4: Weather in Aberdeen

When the first settlers arrived in Aberdeen they experienced weather that was very similar to the weather we have today. The summers were hot and windy, and the winters were very cold and snowy. Weather conditions in an area that are consistence over a period of years are called the area’s climate.

This climate would determine what type of home or job the new settlers could have. They would have to be able to provide a source of heat in their homes to stay warm during the cold of winter. Farmers would have to plant crops that grew quickly because the summers were very short. The weather of an area is important because it tells us how people might live.

Aberdeen has extreme weather which means it can be very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter. There also isn’t much moisture in our climate that comes from rain and snow. The area around Aberdeen gets about 25 inches of percipitation each year, and most of that comes from summer rains. That is an average amount, some years will be wetter and some drier. The years with extreme weather conditions are usually when the people living in an area have problems doing their jobs and participating in activities.

Today we have people who forecast weather so we can be prepared if there is bad weather coming. When the first residents of Aberdeen lived here, they had no way of knowing what the weather might be the next day or the next week. The newspapers printed forecasts which were created by people living in bigger cities like Minneapolis or even Chicago. The forecasters in these cities would send this information by telegraph to the man who was in charge of the Aberdeen railroad station who would put up one or more flags which told people what the weather would be. These were called signal flags, and they are pictured here.

When the early residents had a blizzard, they had to shovel the snow from the sidewalk and street by hand because they did not have snowblowers. They piled the snow in their yards and on the edge of the street because they also had no trucks to carry it away. One winter they had so much snow, they had to dig tunnels through snowbanks so they could get across the street.

floodSometimes it would rain too much and Aberdeen would flood because the land is so flat and there was no place for the water to go. When they had a flood, the people had to use boats to get around until the water evaporated and the streets were dry again. Today we have storm sewers that help carry water away from our houses and streets so the streets do not flood.

There are some years when Aberdeen does not get enough precipitation and that causes a drought. dust driftsGrass, trees, flowers, and crops will not grow when there is a drought because they must have water to live and grow. When the land is very dry the dirt becomes dust. Wind picks up the dust and blows it around in the air. If there are no trees or plants to hold the dirt down, entire fields can blow away if they are too dry. This dirt will drift just like snow ending up in huge piles around fences or buildings.

The climate of Aberdeen also can be very windy. Sometimes we even have windwind damage storms that have winds so strong they can lift buildings off the ground or blow them apart so they can’t be used any more.

The people who came to Aberdeen to live had to learn how to live in Aberdeen’s climate so they could survive. What do we do today to live through blizzards, rains, winds, and floods?