Blizzard 2019: Forecast and Information Update
All forecast and information updates will be posted here, hunker down and be safe!
Stay tuned for regular live updates from NewsCenter1
Street Department Superintendent Dale Pfeifle reports many areas continue to experience blowing and drifting issues, with multi-foot drifts in some roadways including main line areas. Plow crews continue to work emergency routes and main lines only to have high winds create more drifting. Contractors are being contacted to assist in residential areas. The public is urged to stay off roads.
Wind gusts of 65 mph in the Rapid City area. Large drifts and blowing snow are making driving extremely difficult and dangerous. Many roads and counties have issued a “No Travel Advised” warning.
Multiple accidents in Pennington County area. Heavy wind conditions and low visibility.
I-90 closed from Wall to Wyoming border.
Freezing rain on I-90 in Piedmont area.
Light snow appearing in the area, winds picking up. I-90 closed from Wall to Chamberlain.
A pocket of dry air is keeping hopes alive that this event won’t happen.
It’s only a matter of time before the pocket of dry air collapses and snow & wind will find their way to Rapid City. Communities to the South are already reporting 3 inches of snow, and a glaze of ice. Pringle, SD reported a 60 mph wind gust just before 9 am, so things are on their way! Hold tight.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED BLIZZARD WARNINGS AND WINTER STORM WARNINGS FOR OUR REGION
You’ll notice this morning that our accumulations are much more focused, as we get a better idea of the storm structure and which areas expect to receive certain impacts. You can scroll through the different regions, and each one will have a highlighted forecast and distinct personality with this system; everyone will see something a little different.
No matter WHERE you are in the Black Hills region, however, travel is highly discouraged. Do not put your own life at risk, and that of emergency personnel trying to reach you. Whether out of curiosity, or a false sense of invincibility, there is -ZERO- reason to travel today that is worth it unless an absolute emergency. This is not the day to test those waters. This storm has the potential to be dangerous, and even life-threatening if not taken seriously. Hunker down, put on some warm socks, get out the monopoly board, because it’s just going to be one of those days.
To make this journey a little easier information wise, here’s what we’re thinking.
Here’s what the radar coverage is expected to look like over the next 36 hours
Here’s out expected winds for the next 48 hours. Notice things don’t wind down until at least Thursday evening
Here’s what we’re thinking as far as snow totals across the area.
Below you will find each warning and the selected region highlighted by a white box. If you live within this area, your general impacts are presented in the discussion below.
EASTERN FOOTHILLS AND RAPID CITY
- Rapid City, including the I-90 corridor to Sturgis and the SD-79 corridor towards Hot Springs, will experience heavy snow starting this morning, and blizzard conditions as you reach mid to late morning. Traveling will be dangerous, if not impossible during this time. 10-14″ is a very reasonable estimation, however, when snow totals begin to grow so large, variations will occur in isolated spots. Blowing snow will push accumulations and large drifts across roadways and even through downtown Rapid City.
SOUTH AND EAST OF THE BLACK HILLS
- A more volatile spread of possible accumulations will be possible in this area. Blizzard conditions will spread drifts across the great plains, making travel impossible for most of Wednesday going into Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. Freezing rain will be a distinct possibility in the far Southeastern portion of our area, so extremely slick roads will add to blizzard conditions. Travel is highly discouraged for your own safety, as it may be several hours, if not longer before rescue can arrive.
THE NORTHERN BLACK HILLS
- Very high snow accumulations look likely for the northern hills, with 45 mph winds causing low visibility and blowing snow. Some areas of the higher elevations could receive even higher amounts. Spearfish will see Blizzard conditions, with higher sustained winds and whiteout conditions at times.
NORTH OF THE BLACK HILLS
- Lower amounts are generally expected as you get farther away from the Black Hills, but 60 mph winds will still make travel almost impossible at times. Given the open space and lack of cover, this could lead to dangerous travel conditions. Do not attempt to travel once blizzard conditions have settled in. 3-10″ of snow can feel like a lot more when roadways become indiscernible from the surrounding landscape.
NORTHEASTERN WYOMING, GILLETTE AND NEWCASTLE
- Winds will be slightly lower than the South Dakota side of the hills, but whiteout conditions and dangerous travel is expected. Roadways will likely be closed, and it is in your best interest to keep a weather radio, particularly in rural areas. 5-11″ will feel like a lot more if you end up getting stuck, as rescue may be hours away, if not longer. Do not travel.
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