The Great Thaw: Black Hills clobbered into Spring
Warmer, drier weather looks to be the more dominant pattern over the next 7 days, but could cause some flooding issues.
It’s very fitting that our journey to the warm embrace of Spring would be filled with adventure after the bitterly cold February we went through. A battle had to be fought, and we fought it. Blizzard 2019 was hardly a local event, but it will be considered a benchmark in our overall weather story this year, as Spring and warmer temperatures await us next week. Let’s Discuss.
- Blizzard 2019 was a monster. It flipped Semis with 90 mph winds in Amarillo Texas, spawned tornadoes from New Mexico to Mississippi and Even Michigan and Ohio. Blizzard conditions rocked the front range as a monster sub 975 MB Low crushed its way across Dodge City, Kansas, where the lowest MB pressure in over 100 years was recorded. Give it whatever silly name you want, to me it was the storm the kicked us right into Spring weather. After the brutally cold winter we’ve had, part of me feels like this was the only way.
- Snow totals, of course, were all over the place. The Black Hills have no mercy on forecasters hoping to give its residents a ballpark of what they can expect snow wise. Dry pockets plagued Rapid City particularly, which was a little late on arrival. Of course, none of that mattered once it finally did get going, nobody was wondering if a Blizzard was coming by 2 pm. Despite whatever snow totals you got, Much of the region, particularly East of Rapid City, was paralyzed by nightfall.
- If you really want to measure the impact of the storm in your area, measure the drifts. Sticking a ruler in any spot isn’t going to get you the totals you’re looking for. The higher the winds, the worse the travel generally. Any areas that were plowed were quickly covered again in the areas with the highest sustained winds. Many vehicles tried to make it and failed, despite the warnings, but the vast majority of residents took the warnings seriously and stayed home. This made everyone’s job easier including mine, and for that, we thank you. Winds by itself are bearable, snow can be shoveled once it falls, combine the two though for 24 hours and its a game over. Once folks saw truckers start to pull off the highway, that was the final clue that it was time to get out the monopoly board and enjoy the show.
- Conditions will slowly start to improve, starting today. Large portions of South Dakota, particularly the central part of the state are closed and have no-travel advisories. Eastbound I-90 from Rapid City to Chamberlain is still closed as of early this morning, but WESTBOUND I-90 from Wall to Rapid City has been opened. be sure to check HERE for current road closures and conditions. Snow melt is going to be a big deal, particularly in areas East of the Black Hills where flooding is, and will be an issue. Make sure you clear your storm drains and gutters, so we can get the snow melt out of here and on its way. Things will dry out with time, but flooding concerns will stay with us as we thaw out.
- Your patience will be rewarded. By the first day of Spring on Wednesday, we’ll be right on schedule again. Highs in the 50’s are expected by middle of next week, but will we be on track going into late March… and April?
The long range shows the polar air mass retreating to the North, and staying there. A strong ridge of high pressure will act like a bubble against any major systems. By late next week, there is the possibility of some unsettled weather as the sub-tropical jet begins to influence our weather patterns. Thankfully, this isn’t the POLAR jet bringing us unsettled weather. a welcome sight indeed.
- Things will continue to warm up, and overnight lows will slowly rise with our daytime high temperatures
- Dry conditions should win out for the remainder of the weekend and going into next week, use this time to enjoy the Black Hills and do a little Spring cleaning if need be
- Flooding could be a concern going into next week as rapid snow melt takes place, make sure gutters and storm drains are clear, and check the forecast if you plan on heading East. Bad flooding is taking place in Sioux Falls, and it doesn’t look to improve as snow melt rapidly accelerates across the region
- The good news? No drought conditions anywhere in South Dakota as of right now