Pennington County officials warn of danger after winter storm

RAPID CITY S.D. – West River’s latest winter storm is history, but the memories remain.

Snow drifts are piled high, and now its up to road crews to make all streets passable. Pennington County Emergency Management says there’s still great concern for public safety.

“There can be a rush to normalcy,” said Pennington County Emergency Management Director Dustin Willett, “There can be a rush to ‘Hey, the event’s over, lets go out and get about our normal lives.”

Willett said wind gusts and blowing snow pose a threat to travel throughout the Black Hills and Eastern Pennington County, even for people driving large trucks and SUVs.

“[There are] impassible roads in Eastern Pennington county that continue to become drifted, even when the plows punch through with the winds we’re having, it doesn’t take long for those winds to be drifted back through,” Willett said.

In the past 24 hours, a variety of first responders from different agencies responded to roughly 100 calls. The Rapid City Fire Department responded to about 40 calls for service, which they say is slightly below average for a normal day. In some cases, the Rapid City Fire Department has been using a specially-equipped, extra large Haugland ATV.

“It seems like the public heeded the advisories and the warnings and they were off of the roads, and it was a fairly uneventful evening for us,” said Lt. Jim Bussell with the Rapid City Fire Department. “Very few of our calls were storm related.”

Firefighters also say residents need to clear three feet of space around their hydrants.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News

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