Black Hills Thanksgiving Week Travel Forecast: Breakdown of Winter Weather this week

Travel Forecast: A Very, very busy week weather wise across the country, with multiple systems expected to cross the Central and possibly the Northern Plains this week.

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: New Forecast Posted! Click here for more! >>>>> NEW FORECAST

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  • Breaking down Sunday, we have warm temperatures expected across the region in the 50s and maybe even 60s in some location with partly cloudy skies.
  • A wind advisory is in effect for Northwestern South Dakota until this evening, winds up to 50 mph from the Northwest could occur Sunday afternoon.

  • The Black Hills and the surrounding areas could also see some high wind gusts in the 30s and 40s through this evening.
  • Windy conditions will persist on and off going all the way through Tuesday, with temperatures beginning to dip into the 40s and 30s for highs starting Monday.

  • The Black Hills and Northeastern Wyoming could get a quick burst of snow/rain/mixed precipitation with the passage of the cold front later on this evening, sometime after 6 p.m.
  • Areas East of the Black Hills are likely not to see anything at all, Rapid City and the I-90 corridor could get a quick burst of snow/mixed activity that could reduce visibility and make roads slick.
  • This will quickly pass though and should be done by midnight, things clearing up in time for Monday morning.

  • Mostly sunny conditions are expected Monday morning, with temperatures in the 30s and 40s with breezy northwesterly winds.
  • Snow showers could cross areas of Northeastern Wyoming, but most activity should stick to the I-25 corridor and the foothills of the Bighorns.

  • Monday night into Tuesday, clouds will be on the increase and there is a chance a few snow showers could creep North across the Nebraska border into Southern portions of our area.
  • Maybe a light dusting to a few inches here or there, but so far not looking like a big impact system.

  • A Brief 3-day recap shows a couple smaller systems moving through the Black Hills Region, bringing little to no impacts.
  • Colder temperatures and a stiff Northwesterly wind will be prevalent though, so bundling up each day for your activities will be warranted.

THANKSGIVING TRAVEL FORECAST – DISCUSSION

I’ll be quite blunt – this forecast is an absolute MESS. Once we get past Wednesday, a Classic – large impact system is likely to cross the Central and Northern Plains and wreak havoc on travel plans across the country. For that reason, I’ve put together a concise snapshot of what each day will look like leading up to Thanksgiving, as far as competent forecast guidance models will allow us to reach into the future. Things here at home in the Hills look relatively quiet until Thanksgiving, but several systems will impact Denver, Chicago, and major hubs throughout this week. I wanted to at least give you all an idea of what the major thoroughfares will look like. Do not take these long range models as gospel – instead, take it as something to consider if you’re making travel plans over the next couple days. This is absolutely something that needs to be followed closely each day, as the forecast will likely shift. With that, lets get started.

THANKSGIVING WEEK – MONDAY

  • Travelling East on Monday should be relatively smooth, roads and interstates look clear through Sioux Falls, Omaha and Minneapolis.
  • North Dakota may have a quick system move through, so be cautious if you’re heading North on Monday

  • The road South may get tricky on Monday, as Wyoming and the Rockies will have a snow producing system cross the front range and close up around I-25 through the afternoon hours.
  • If heading South, leaving early Monday and try your best to push through the Nebraska panhandle and avoid the incoming system in Wyoming.
  • By Monday afternoon and evening, Snow will have moved into the region and covered the Nebraska panhandle, Denver and most routes South. Snow covered roads and icy conditions will be likely.

THANKSGIVING WEEK – TUESDAY

9:00 AM TUESDAY

3:00 PM TUESDAY

  • Tuesday’s forecast will have snow bands crossing Nebraska, and mostly sticking to the Southern portions of South Dakota- South of I-90.
  • If you’re travelling East on Tuesday, best to stick to I-90 and roads North of I-90. Chamberlain and Sioux Falls could have some snow bands moving through the region during the day and into the afternoon.
  • By 3 p.m. Tuesday, this system will have pushed into Iowa and portions of Southern Minnesota, so best to get an early start if you’re trying to beat the system East.

  • Travelling South on Tuesday will be messy, Southeast Wyoming, Colorado and most of Nebraska is expecting snow showers throughout the day.
  • Accumulations will vary, but snow covered roads and slick conditions will be likely.
  • If you must travel, sticking to the interstates and well-plowed roads will be a good plan.

THANKSGIVING WEEK – WEDNESDAY

  • Wednesday for the most part is looking clear across the region, save for areas of Iowa and Minnesota.
  • Roads could still be slick from the previous day, so giving yourself extra time would be wise if travelling East.

  • Same goes for road conditions heading South of the Black Hills, things will be clearing up and allow at least for a full day of clear travel.
  • Snow is expected to impact areas of Southwestern Wyoming, but should stay there for the most part until Thursday. Casper, Wyoming may get clipped with a few snow bands.

THANKSGIVING DAY – THURSDAY

  • Thanksgiving Day will feature another system aiming for Nebraska and the Central/Eastern portions of South Dakota.
  • Temperatures will be in the 20s for most areas, so roads will be slick from areas East of the Black Hills and beyond.

  • The I-25 corridor, along with 385 South through the Nebraska panhandle looks… so far… to avoid most impacts Thanksgiving Day.
  • Snow is expecting to sandwich the region on both sides through, so travelling through Western portions of Wyoming or anywhere East from the front range farther than Scottsbluff, Nebraska may be a bit more tricky.
  • Rapid City to Denver looks fair for travel, but a few areas of light snow showers and mixed precipitation could pop up, so just be cautious.

THANKSGIVING WEEK – FRIDAY

  • Like I warned, Friday is about as far out as the models go out before they get really messy, really inconsistent and downright frustrating.
  • What is clear, is that a large system is likely to cross the Central and Northern plains Friday-Sunday after Thanksgiving. Strength and location is still a tricky question.
  • This system could very well move right through the Black Hills region Friday and Saturday, with expected impacts to travel, or it could track a little farther South and East – missing Rapid City and the Hills altogether.
  • Regardless, Travelling anywhere South or East of the Hills Thanksgiving weekend will be a tricky enterprise – anyone who is seriously looking at long distance travelling the day after Thanksgiving needs to pay attention to this system – both for air travel and vehicles.

  • Colorado, Wyoming and the Rockies may not fare any better, with snow and possible mixed precipitation Friday through Sunday.
  • Once again, this is a looooooong way out, but its kind of hard to miss this one – even this far out.

  • The Jet stream supports the argument for a large scale system as well for Thanksgiving Weekend.
  • Remember the discussions we’ve had about Colorado Low’s? This is a classic setup for such an event.
  • A South to North trajectory, with warm gulf moisture wrapping around to meet cold arctic air on the back end.
  • The Hope: The system tracks far to the South, leaving us a little cold and windswept – but otherwise dry. Still possible for that scenario to happen.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I am very, very well aware that this forecast is very sensitive to folks with well-laid out travel plans, and I want to emphasize that these long range forecast – especially when it comes to snow – are like trying to build a model ship in a glass bottle during an earthquake. A lot should change, a lot will change, which is why its important to keep an eye on the forecast and check it each day for changes. I think it’s important that meteorologists are open with the discussion that they are having with themselves as they work through the different possibilities because then it makes the forecast more tangible for the person who is trying to make important decisions.

My gut on this? Watch this weekend carefully. Even if this system doesn’t impact the Black Hills directly, I’ve got all my chips down on some busted travel plans and snarled airports across the Great Plains and Midwest. I’ll be updating this forecast throughout the week. I want to emphasize how much we appreciate you trusting us with your forecast, especially with something as important as trying to reunite with loved ones and friends. We have every reason to work hard on this and to give you clear, concise forecasts – so let us know if we can help clarify anything.

No, I don’t know what the forecast for Christmas is going to be. 🙂

Be safe out there folks, thanks for tuning in with us – Brant

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