It’s Time for Action: Blizzard Warnings Issued for Rapid City, Black Hills Region
Using today's warm temperatures and plentiful sunshine for preparation will be wise, as this coming winter storm will paralyze much of the region
BLIZZARD WARNING FOR RAPID CITY AND THE BLACK HILLS REGION
The time to start planning for Wednesday and Thursday’s winter storm has started, lets break down the forecast. Should the forecast verify as of right now, this is what is expected.
Tuesday evening, a low pressure system will undergo a rapid deepening as it ventures on to the front range. The low will deepen due to the rapid elevation decline from the Rocky mountains, resulting in forces that will bring plenty of moisture into our region, while supplying the kickoff energy needed to ignite said moisture. Lots of energy.
The track of this low pressure system is unique as it barrels straight North from New Mexico, into the Western reaches of Kansas, before finally ejecting to the Northeast. A Pacific wave will arrive from the Northwest just in time to inject the storm with more energy, and more moisture just as the main system clips the Black Hills region.
Snow, heavy at times, will arrive first in the Colorado Rockies and quickly move Northward Tuesday evening as the engine picks up. Snow and windy conditions will spread as the atmosphere tries to balance itself to the rapidly deepening low pressure. Air will rush in at the surface, in a counter clockwise spiral, to fill the void left by the surface low pressure. As the winds spin counter clockwise, they will suck up moisture from the Southeast and catapult this fuel straight into the cold air mass waiting over the Black Hills. Our region will be relatively lucky, as this could be the lowest low pressure storm to cross the central plains in almost 40 years, Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska will be receiving the worst of this system.
Wednesday morning is when these forces will arrive in our region, bringing heavy snow starting between 6 am and 9 am for Rapid City. Heavy snow rates in the morning will be followed by winds picking up in the region, first 30, then 40 and 60 mph wind gusts as the Low pressure system passes close by. 70 mph winds are not out of the question out on the great plains, travel is expected to become dangerous, if not impossible for large swaths of our region between Wednesday and Thursday.
The vast amounts of energy that will be ignited over our region leads me to believe that thunder snow will be a distinct possibility for a lucky few.
Snow continues Wednesday night into Thursday, as the winds continue across the region into Thursday morning at 40-50 mph. It isn’t until Thursday evening that the system makes an abrupt exit, leaving some areas Like the Northern Black Hills and Bennett County with up to 12-24″+ of snow, areas like Rapid City receiving 12-24″+ possibly. Areas of North of Belle Fourche and Meade County could see the 5-12″ range, with a multitude of heavier spots. Most of this will be blowing around as winds continue to move through the area on Thursday.
Friday morning finally sees sunshine, and calmer winds with almost 35 to 40 degree temperatures. Snow melt will be a big theme this weekend, so ensuring that gutters and storm drains are clear will be key to protecting your property and your neighbors from potential flooding.
-Heavy snow and gusty winds will be a major part of Wednesday and Thursday
–Avoiding travel altogether in the Black Hills region, particularly in the Great Plains would be wise during this time, but if you must travel a winter kit is a must as you may be stranded for hours in blizzard-like conditions before rescue will come.
-If you do get stuck, remain with your vehicle, and make sure your exhaust is clear of any snow.
-Power outages, although not expected to be widespread, will be possible given the high winds. Having phones and electronic devices charged will be helpful should such a situation arise.
-Having a weather radio is a wonderful way to keep in touch with the latest warnings and advisories, especially if the power goes out.
-Be safe out there, this will be the biggest storm of the season thus far for the Black Hills Region, and even experienced South Dakotan’s may be surprised at the scale of the event.
-Stay up to date with the forecast, as it CAN and more than likely WILL adjust over the next 36 hours. I will be sure to spend the next 4 days updating social media, the web and answering questions as I can as this event moves through.
We’ve got you covered, be safe out there friends!
Here are some products that will help explain the next 48 hours
Here is the expected radar coverage over the next 48 hours
Expected snow accumulations across the area
Forecasted wind gusts Wednesday morning into Thursday evening.
Here are the official warnings posted by the National Weather Service in Rapid City
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN RAPID CITY HAS ISSUED A BLIZZARD WARNING FOR OUR AREA
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN RAPID CITY HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR THE NORTHERN BLACK HILLS
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN RAPID CITY HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR THE SOUTHERN BLACK HILLS AND WESTON COUNTY PLAINS
A WINTER STORM WATCH CONTINUES FOR AREAS NORTH OF THE BLACK HILLS ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE