Blizzard Warnings Issued for Rapid City, I-90 Corridor: Timeline and expected impacts posted

Blizzard Warnings, Winter Storm Warnings and further advisories have been posted for the Black Hills Region

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THURSDAY MORNING FORECAST

  • Taking a quick look at today’s timeline, breezy and cloudy weather awaits us with temperatures struggling to reach the 30s for most of us.
  • Moisture-rich southeasterly winds will make the wind chill feel particularly cold – make sure you are bundling up today
  • Otherwise, relatively dry conditions with a few flurries possible around the hills, a mix of snow and rain and freezing drizzle expected father East towards Pierre and the Central portions of the state

  • A Blizzard Warning has been issued by the National Weather Service for Rapid City, the I-90 corridor, The SD plains East and North of the Black Hills and Northeast Wyoming Plains.
  • This warning begins Friday at 6 PM and goes until Sunday at 6 AM.
  • We could see winds gusting as high as 65 mph, perhaps more by late Friday night into Saturday morning.
  • Travel will be very difficult, if not impossible during this time period.
  • Snow accumulations are expected to range between 8″-14″ out towards the plains, but the real impact will be reduced visibility and treacherous roads due to the high winds.

  • A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for the Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains starting 6 PM Friday going into 6 AM Sunday.
  • Although winds are expected to be a little less intense, 45 mph wind gusts will still cause low visibility, blowing and drifting snow and difficult driving conditions.
  • The Northern Hills and Northern Foothills could see as much as 12″-24″, with the Central Hills Southward seeing amounts in the 6″-12″ range respectively.

  • The Forecast is still developing for areas South and East of the Black hills, where a Winter Storm Watch remains in effect as of 5:30 this morning – not a Winter Storm Warning.
  • Snow accumulations of 6″ or more will be possible for areas of Fall River, Oglala Lakota, Jackson and Bennett County.
  • 55 MPH wind gusts will also be possible in this region, so although snow accumulations may be lighter, travel impacts could still be significant.

  • Timing things out, Thursday evening should stay relatively dry, with a few areas of freezing drizzle and snow shower activity in the Big Horns out West, and the Central part of South Dakota out to the East.
  • Winds will be quite chilly, with moisture being brought in from Southeasterly winds – water puts an exclamation point on all things weather!

  • Although our advisories and warnings don’t start until 6 PM Friday evening, travel impacts could begin as soon as Friday morning.
  • Temperatures hovering right around the 20s and 30s, along with drizzle could lead to icy conditions – along with a few snow showers.
  • This is still a good time to get any last minute errands run, or travel a short distance to whatever place you plan on hunkering down.

  • By 7 PM – 9 PM, its go time. Make sure you are where you need to be as conditions will quickly deteriorate as we go into late Friday night.
  • Winds will not pick up immediately, but heavy snow will start moving in and covering roads.
  • Some areas to the South and Southeast like Pine Ridge could see heavy freezing rain, or a rain snow mix – this will eventually transition to all snow by Saturday morning.

  • By 6 AM Saturday, we’re in the thick of this storm. Wind gusts up to 60-70 MPH will be possible out on the plains, with poor visibility and treacherous, if not impossible travel.
  • Power outages could be possible during these high winds, make sure you have a plan, and keep cell phones charged!

  • These conditions will persist all the way until Saturday afternoon and the early evening hours.
  • The heavier snow will start to lighten up, but the winds will continue to howl through the night into Sunday morning, covering roads and making plow work difficult.

  • Sunday morning we start seeing big improvements, as accumulating snow pushes East and sunshine moves in from the West.
  • That does not mean travel will be ok Sunday morning, breezy conditions will continue, and many roads may be covered – or shut down entirely.
  • It could take time to clear the roads so be prepared to leave late Sunday from the Black Hills… and if things get cleared out before then, all the better.

  • Snow accumulations will be absolutely all over the place – with large amounts expected to fall in the Northern Black Hills and the I-90 corridor.
  • High winds could mean that your front yard has only a dusting, and your back yard has drifts several feet high – measuring with a ruler will be a difficult endeavor.
  • I think the northern Hills could see several feet in some locations, with the Southern Hills getting a little less – around the 5″-10″ range right around Custer and going South.
  • The Plains North and East of the Black Hills will be a mess, snow is going to be blowing all over the place so even if you get a “measly” 6″ of snow or less, you’re getting snow from another county over anyway. Having that said, could easily push a foot of snow or more in places like Buffalo, Faith, Belle Fourche and Carter County, Montana.
  • The I-90 corridor will more than likely get upslope enhancement with Northeasterly Winds, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see places like Spearfish, Sturgis, Nemo, Piedmont, Summerset and Even Rapid City get a foot or more of snow. It could even be a case where North Rapid City sees 10″-16″ of snow and South Rapid City sees the 7″-12″ range. Snow accumulations will very GREATLY based upon which side of the street you live on.
  • Northeastern Wyoming plains and areas like Gillette gets a “paltry” 4″-7″ of snow… with locally higher spots and possibly a “Snow Shadow” in Newcastle where I have 3″-6″ marked. This wont matter, as winds will make travel almost impossible – make sure to keep that in mind.

DISCUSSION

My gut tells me this could be Big. This has every potential to be quite the show. I would much rather everyone take this storm seriously, and then numbers end up being down than the other way around. This is NOTHING to mess with – if you try and travel during the height of this storm and get stuck, not only are you putting yourself in danger, but first responders now have to leave their families during thanksgiving weekend and come get you, putting them in danger as well. Be responsible – be safe and keep up to date with the latest forecast. All things aside, if we make all the preparations and take the necessary precautions, we could be in for quite a Thanksgiving show! Get some fuzzy socks, get the monopoly board out, call a friend, read a good book, and just marvel at what a wild, wild place we live in.

We so, so appreciate you all trusting us with this forecast – all our numbers may not hit the mark, but we are working hard to give you the best information available and our main objective is to keep you safe. Send us pictures! let us know how you’re spending your weekend during this storm. I’ll more than likely be hunkered down at the station with the puppy for the weekend, so we’ll get you all plenty of updates through it all. Thanks for tuning in with us, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING – Brant

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