Time for Action: Updated Blizzard Forecast Discussion for the Black Hills

Preparations should be made as we anticipate a potentially dangerous blizzard to bring major impacts to our area.

9 AM UPDATE: No-Travel Advisories have been issued for areas surrounding Rapid City Details provided HERE


  • Roads have become icy across portions of the Black Hills since yesterday, and that’s expected to continue throughout the day with freezing drizzle and temperatures hovering right around freezing.
  • You can still get around if need be, but use extra caution and don’t assume the roads are wet – there have been multiple accidents reported across the region since yesterday due to slick roads.

  • Everywhere you see pink on this map indicates icy roads and slick conditions.
  • The higher elevations of the Black Hills from Lawrence County through Pennington, Custer and South towards Fall River County are reporting very icy conditions.
  • There are reports of traffic collisions on both I-90 and SD-79 since yesterday – use caution as these conditions are not expected to improve, but in fact deteriorate further.

  • Blizzard Warnings have been expanded to include our entire viewing area, save for the higher elevations and Carter, County Montana which have Winter Storm Warnings.
  • This warning will start 6 PM this evening and go through 6 AM Sunday.
  • The warning calls for freezing drizzle and freezing rain, which has already started since yesterday and will continue through today.
  • Even though the Blizzard warning starts at 6 PM this evening, major winds aren’t expected to pick up until later on tonight and perhaps after midnight.
  • The warning calls for 55 MPH wind gusts, but I think we could easily see 6-70 MPH wind gusts, particularly out towards Box Elder, rural Meade County and the Eastern flank of the Black Hills.
  • 8″-12″ is called for along the I-90 corridor and Northwest South Dakota, while 6″-10″ respectively is called for South of I-90 and in the Northeastern Wyoming Plains
  • Although Carter County, Montana and Ekalaka are not included int he Blizzard warning, similar criteria can be expected with 50+ MPH winds and a foot or more of snow.

  • A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for the Black Hills themselves, starting at 6 PM this evening going through 6 AM Sunday.
  • Although winds are expected to be slightly less due to trees and other obstacles, blowing and drifting snow should be expected – along with low visibility.
  • The warning calls for 12″-24″ of snow in the Northern Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains – along with areas along and North of Hill City.
  • Custer, Hot Springs and the Southern Hills are being warned for 6″-12″ of snow respectively – perhaps a little less farther South into places like Edgemont.

  • Freezing Drizzle and freezing rain will persist throughout the day today, with slick roads expected.
  • As long as you drive cautiously – people should still be able to get around – but do NOT assume the roads are just wet – we’ll be at the freezing mark or below throughout the day today.
  • Perhaps a few snow bands in the far Western portion of our area towards the Big Horns and Sheridan by this morning and afternoon.

  • Things will rapidly deteriorate by about 6-8 PM this evening, when snow bands will begin crossing our area and filling in across the whole region.
  • Winds are not expected to be high at this point, but high snowfall rates will start covering roads and creating problems – especially given the icy conditions we are expecting today.

  • Overnight in Saturday morning, Blizzard conditions are expected with winds gusting up to 60, even 70 mph across portions of our area and heavy snow bands.
  • Travel may be difficult, to impossible during this time period.

  • Although snow bands will start to become more spotty Saturday night, high winds will continue to make travel difficult and blizzard conditions are expected to continue.
  • Wind chill could reach the single digits, with snow drifts beginning to bank up against buildings, roads, and other areas.

  • The Snow totals are a moot point… seeing as most of this will be blown around and end up in the next county or even next state over.
  • I think the Northern Hills and Eastern foothills could get the larger amounts of over a foot of snow, especially Lawrence County. Lead/Deadwood area could get up to 2 feet.. if not a little more towards Cheyenne Crossing.
  • I have the I-90 corridor between Sundance, WY and Rapid City as the bulls eye for some surprise high accumulations.
  • 8″-12″ of snow is likely for Spearfish, Sturgis, Piedmont, Black Hawk and Northern Rapid City in that narrow strip heading towards town.
  • Areas South of I-90 will see less accumulations, but with Northerly winds in place you could see large snow drifts regardless.
  • Pine Ridge could see snow that fell 50 miles North of its location, same with other areas like Martin and Kadoka out in the South Dakota Plains.
  • Northeastern Wyoming will see generally less accumulations in the 5″-8″ range, but still a good amount with plenty of winds to create blizzard-like conditions.

  • A Snapshot of the next three days shows things easing up as we approach Sunday morning, but the windy conditions will continue.
  • Blowing snow and low visibility could make travel difficult even Sunday morning – roads will take time to clear with drifts expected to cause issues, especially out in the plains.

FORECAST DISCUSSION

If you need to get out and about today, you can still do that – but ice covered roads warrant caution to anyone heading out. Major impacts will start developing between 6 PM-8 PM tonight and will not get better – this is when you’ll want to be hunkered down in place.

The ruler won’t be necessary, this will be a situation where you have a dusting in your front yard and you can’t open your back door because its been sealed shut by snow. Remember that if you try and travel during this time, you’re taking a risk. We will be sure to update you on all road closures and road conditions throughout this event. This is has the potential to cause some major impacts and we should take it seriously – having that said a little preparation goes a long way. Just be smart, use common sense, and we’ll weather this Blizzard as we have many others – it is the Black Hills after all.

Special note to our ranching community – who have had to make large preparations for this forecast, lets keep them in our thoughts. Most of us here and town need to maybe get some milk and eggs, but preparing for a possible blizzard outside of town is a whole different deal. We appreciate you trusting us with your forecast – we know it has major implications and is critically important information for those both in town, and outside of town. Stay tuned for updates – be safe out there. – Brant

Current Conditions

 

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