The Winds of Change: Advisories posted for the Black Hills Region

A sharp cold front will bring wind and snowy conditions to portions of our area, and bitterly cold temperatures going into next week

  • Rain, Snow and wind are moving in from the Northwest this morning – crossing through Billings at the moment and will eventually make it to the Black Hills Region.
  • You can see there are several shades of purple and pink for the winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings posted across the region.
  • This system will have small to medium impacts, and as long as we take precautions today we shouldn’t have an issue going about our day, but lets talk about it.

  • A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for Fall River, Oglala Lakota and Bennett Counties for 3″-5″ of snow.
  • A Wind Advisory has been issued for the Eastern Foothills and areas East of the Black Hills until 6 PM this evening.
  • The higher elevations of the Black Hills do NOT have any advisories posted, but can still expect some accumulations and gusty winds – so keep your guard up.

  • Many of the higher wind gusts will blow through the region before the snow arrives, which is promising news.
  • Right around lunchtime, areas of Northeastern Wyoming and the Northern Hills will start seeing some snow bands move through.
  • This will be the moment when things could get a little dicey, as we’ll have gusty winds now combined with light to moderate snowfall at times.
  • Monitor road conditions, and be prepared to slow down during these on & off snow squalls.
  • Truth is many of us will see only light impacts – anyone who takes 5-10 minutes to check on road conditions and the forecast before they walk out the door should have little problems today, be smart!

  • By 7 Pm Most of the heavier Snow bands will miss areas North of I-90, but a few slushy roads in Butte and Meade County aren’t out of the question.
  • The I-90 corridor always seem to have a surprise for us during these clippers – and especially as the sun goes down.
  • Snow bands are expected to increase as our system pushes further South.

  • Notice that by around 10 pm-12 am tonight most snow bands are concentrated on the Nebraska border.
  • Pine ridge, Martin and Oelrichs may have some travel impacts at this hour, so it may be prudent to be settled in for the evening by around 5-7 pm for those areas

  • By 6 AM Sunday, snow bands are cruising across the Nebraska panhandle and moving towards the Colorado Front range.
  • The Black Hills will have a few flurries and snow bands milling about, but for the most part we’ll be done by Sunday morning
  • If you have plans to travel South, you’ll want to really check that forecast, as areas towards Cheyenne Wyoming are expecting much bigger impacts from this system than we are.

  • Temperatures will quickly plummet this afternoon – Make sure you are dressed for this afternoon, not this morning
  • By Sunday morning we’ll see teens in Northeastern Wyoming the Hills and mid 20s everywhere else.
  • It’ll be breezy, so wind chills could easily be close to zero in some cases. Bundle up.

  • Once again, no need to take these accumulation maps as gospel, but they do give a good idea as to where we’re expecting the hot spots.
  • Custer and Hot Springs are not included in the Winter Weather Advisories, but I think we could get some sneaky snow bands moving through before all is said and done. I’m putting my chips on 2″-5″+ with heavier spots for Custer and Fall River County.
  • Pine Ridge and Oglala Lakota County also have a chance to get locked in to some decent snow bands, so don’t be surprised to get several inches of snow by Sunday morning. 2″-5″ stretching East towards Martin seems appropriate.
  • If you live North of I-90, i’m having a tough time granting you anything larger than 1″… maybe 2″ if you’re lucky in some spots.
  • Northeast Wyoming could generally see 1″-3″, Bear Lodge mountains could see a 4″ mark if timing moves up just a bit and snow arrives before noon today.
  • Rapid City and the I-90 corridor through Sundance could see a few inches, but the main impacts will be the wind in these areas. Even light snow with gusty winds can cause issues, so make sure you’re checking road conditions and the forecast if you’re looking to head out this afternoon and evening.

DISCUSSION

Clipper are fascinating – they seem to have a personality much like you or I. They come in hard and fast, bringing wind, cold temperatures and impressive snow squalls. There’s never enough moisture with them as the Canadian Rockies always sap them of their moisture, so we don’t seem to get the large, heavy accumulation events out of these. Easterly Winds is generally how we get large accumulations and our big events, and we just don’t have anything like that this time around. Don’t underestimate a clipper though – they’re moody and can change conditions very quickly based on a fine tuned wind direction change or a slight increase in moisture. On one hill you may only see a few snowflakes for the entire duration, and the hill next to you has 35 mph winds and low visibility. Drive the conditions, make smart choices and we shouldn’t have a problem attending many of the fun events planned for this weekend, like Deadweird! The Tarzan costume may be a little… exposed for these conditions though… may want to go with Olaf this year 🙂 – Be safe out there! -Brant

Current Conditions

 

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