Monday 8:42 AM UPDATE: Black Hills Thanksgiving Travel Forecast

A large system is expected to cross the great plains Tuesday, bringing impacts to the Southern portion of our area - much more expected this weekend.

8:42 AM FORECAST UPDATE

THANKSGIVING TRAVEL FORECAST

I’ll update this each morning to give the best idea of what road conditions we can expect for those travelling long distances this holiday. I have both the Southern routes to Denver and the Eastern Routes to Omaha and Minneapolis outlined. We’ll start the Southern route first, and then break down the Eastern routes from the Black Hills. Let’s get to it.


RAPID CITY TO DENVER TRAVEL FORECAST

TUESDAY – 

  • Quite plainly, anywhere South of Interstate 90 on Tuesday is going to be a mess, with heavy snow being forecast for areas of Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and Southeastern portions of South Dakota.
  • Up to a foot of snow could fall in places like Cheyenne, North Platte, and Fort Collins.
  • Snow covered roads and icy conditions are likely, along with gusty winds which could lead to blowing snow.
  • Delays are likely at Denver International Airport, so make sure to check on flight before you head out the door.

WEDNESDAY –

  • Conditions look to improve by early Wednesday morning, but roads are still expected to be snow-covered and slick.
  • If you must travel South Wednesday, check the forecast, road conditions, and leave with plenty of time to get to your destination as there will likely be delays.
  • Snow will begin crossing into the Western range of the Rockies by Wednesday, with Western Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado looking to receive a good amount of snow through Thursday

THURSDAY, THANKSGIVING DAY –

  • A new system will push through the area Thursday, with more snow and poor driving conditions expected through Nebraska and Kansas.
  • The good news is Denver and Cheyenne look to receive a break in the weather Thursday morning, that could last through the day.
  • Definitely a forecast to keep a close eye on though, as a slight shift West would cover I-25 and the route to Denver.

FRIDAY-

  • Friday becomes very messy, with a mix of rain, snow, sleet, freezing rain and everything in between crossing the Central and Northern Plains.
  • Forecast guidance models this far out have a hard time giving approximate locations of winter systems, but the sheer size of the system and potential impacts means you should plan for bad weather Friday and hope for the best.

SATURDAY

  • Saturday is when forecast guidance models start to fray and show signs of uncertainty, Snow at the very least looks likely for the Colorado Rockies, Wyoming, North and South Dakota.
  • Winds will also be a big factor on Saturday, so even if we don’t get large amounts of accumulations, blowing snow could make travel hazardous. Absolutely worth watching this week.

RAPID CITY TO SIOUX FALLS, OMAHA AND MINNEAPOLIS TRAVEL FORECAST

TUESDAY-

  • Starting early Tuesday morning, travel impacts are expected for areas along and South of Interstate 90.
  • As the day goes on, conditions will deteriorate through Central and Eastern South Dakota, with Sioux Falls and Omaha, Nebraska expecting impacts by lunchtime.
  • If you have plans to travel East on Tuesday, leaving earlier rather than later is the way to go.

WEDNESDAY-

  • The Northern plains get a bit of a break on Wednesday, with partly cloudy skies expected and clearing conditions.
  • Minneapolis will still be feeling impacts through Wednesday morning, but will eventually clear out as well.
  • Although a better day weather wise, roads are expected to be snow covered and slick in areas, so make sure to still give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.

THURSDAY, THANKSGIVING DAY –

  • By Thursday morning, the snow is back in the forecast for the Central and Eastern portions of South Dakota and Nebraska.
  • This is expected to stay mostly East of the Black Hills until Thursday evening.
  • From Thursday evening onwards, the weather does not look to improve for the Northern plains.

FRIDAY-

  • Much like roads leading South, things don’t look better for the Great Plains and areas East of the Black Hills as a potent storm system will bring a mixture of Winter conditions across a vast area.
  • Rain and Icy conditions look likely for Nebraska and Iowa, as mostly snow begins to push into the Dakotas and Minnesota.

SATURDAY-

  • Assuming forecast guidance models hold true to the potential track of this storm into Saturday, things could improve for Nebraska and Iowa on Saturday, but conditions only worsen for the Dakotas and potentially gusty winds are added to persistent snowfall.
  • I-90 can expect impacts across South Dakota and Minneapolis on Saturday, with possible improving conditions by Sunday.

DISCUSSION

We’ll do our best to keep this updated daily with any major changes to the forecast, as we know folks are trying to make the best of a potentially messy situation and plan ahead. There’s STILL a slight chance we miss this system altogether and it pushes far to the South through Kansas and Southern Nebraska, but I think at this point its better to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Should that big shift happen, we’ll get that information out to you. Be safe out there folks, and thank you for trusting us with your forecast – especially during this crucial time of the year. -Brant

If you want a recap of this mornings forecast and a more detailed breakdown of the next 48 hours, i have that forecast posted below!


MONDAY 5:30 AM FORECAST

  • For those looking for an updated long-range travel forecast, I’ll have that posted later on this morning on this same page, but I wanted to get you all started with a good foundation forecast for your morning. 🙂
  • Relatively Sunny conditions and highs in the 30s and 40s, clouds will be on the increase as we approach the afternoon and evening with a few breezy conditions from the North and Northwest

  • A Winter Weather Advisory has been posted by the National Weather Service in Rapid City for the Southern portion of our area.
  • This includes Fall River, Oglala Lakota, Jackson and Bennett County.
  • Impacts include 1″-3″ of snow, with 2″-4″ and higher amounts expected as you approach the Nebraska border.
  • Notice the Pink shaded areas just across the border – those are Winter Storm Warnings for snow amounts up to a foot & blowing snow heading towards Cheyenne and Scotsbluff.

  • As for us, we’re only catching the Northern edge of the large system expected to cross just to our South and East.
  • Few snow showers could pop up later this evening, forecast guidance has a hard time developing snow in our region due to anticipated dry air just above the surface.
  • So, if you want to get technical, it’ll be snowing for much of Monday night through Tuesday, but most of it will have a hard time making it to the ground.
  • Road conditions should be fair until early Tuesday morning.

  • By 8 AM tomorrow, breezy conditions with temperatures in the 20s and 30s will greet us. Snow bands will be crossing the Southern portions of our area – This includes Hot Springs Pine Ridge and Martin along US-18
  • Upslope enhancement in the Northern and Eastern foothills is looking like a possibility at this point, so areas from Rapid City stretching North through Tilford, Nemo, Sturgis and Spearfish could be locked in some stubborn snow bands Tuesday morning.
  • Snow covered roads and slick conditions look likely, along with blowing snow for Southern portions of our area – stay alert.

  • By Tuesday evening things are wrapping up, but colder temperatures in the teens and 20s will keep roads frozen, make sure to use caution on untreated roads.
  • Breezy conditions will also start to subside going into Wednesday, but be aware of our early sunset and blowing snow.

  • As mentioned before, accumulations aren’t all that impressive from this system unless you’re travelling South.
  • 2″-4″ is enough to get some snow covered roads and cause delays though, so if you do have travel plans make sure to keep that in mind.
  • Areas North of I-90 will be hard pressed to see many impacts, with the I-90 corridor itself subject to possible upslope enhancement.
  • A Trace up to maybe an inch of snow North of the Black Hills, with Northeastern Wyoming looking at maybe 1″-2″.
  • The Black Hills once again could see some locally higher amounts, but this time in the foothills rather than the higher elevations – that would include places like Nemo, Sturgis, Spearfish, and Rockerville fore example. Wouldn’t be surprised to see a 2″-4″ mark along that line. 1″-3″ for the Rapid City downtown area.

  • We take a little breather for Wednesday and Thanksgiving, but all around us multiple systems will be snarling travel and causing problems – so make sure to check the forecast before you head out the door.
  • Temperatures will hover in the 20s and 30s throughout the week, today being the exception with a possible 40° mark.

THANKSGIVING TRAVEL DISCUSSION

A “Colorado Low” looks likely this weekend – this is how The Black Hills get their big snow events. The clippers that have pushed through our region over the last two months have been due to Northwest flow, and moisture starved systems limping down from the Canadian Rockies. This system is a different story, acting like a bucket and lifting gulf moisture straight up through the Great Plains and dumping it right on our heads, where Arctic air will be waiting for it. Specific impacts and snow amounts are too far out to determine at this point, and we could even see the system miss us to our South…. but its not likely.

Look for a updated long range travel forecast later on this morning for Sioux Falls and Denver, and thanks for sticking with us. We know these updates are important. Be safe out there! -Brant

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