11:08 AM UPDATE: Thanksgiving week travel forecast: Winter storm likely this weekend.

Light snow is falling across portions of our region this morning with a few slick roads, but a winter storm looks likely for the Black Hills region this weekend.

CLICK HERE FOR THE UPDATED WEDNESDAY FORECAST

11:08 AM TRAVEL UPDATE: BLACK HILLS THANKSGIVING WEEK FORECAST

This is the updated travel forecast, that now includes Sunday on the timeline. This is meant to help those trying to figure out long distance travel plans for this week, and to stay up to date on the latest long range forecasts. Hope this helps! I’ve broken it down into two sections – Travel Forecast: South – and –Travel Forecast: East. Hopefully this will cover folks trying to make it to either Denver, Cheyenne, Sioux Falls or Minnesota over the next week. With that, lets get to it.

TRAVEL FORECAST – SOUTH

  • Needless to say, Tuesday is a mess across the Front Range and Great Plains today.
  • Blizzard Warnings, Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather advisories stretch across Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Minnesota through tonight into early Wednesday morning.
  • Some Areas could get up to a foot or more of snow.

  • Poor driving conditions are expected to persist through Cheyenne, Denver and almost the entire state of Nebraska Tuesday into early Wednesday.
  • If you must travel, avoid smaller roads and try to stick to the interstates and main thoroughfares.
  • Interstate 80 heading West from Cheyenne is closed as of 10:30 Tuesday morning – more closures could follow.

  • Although conditions are expected to improve by Wednesday, roads could still be closed as crews attempt the clean up process.
  • Give yourself plenty of time, and make sure to check road conditions before you head out the door.

  • Our second storm system will start to pick up steam as we head into Thanksgiving, creeping its way across central portions of Nebraska and Kansas.
  • Southeastern Wyoming and the Nebraska panhandle will remain relatively cloudy, but dry through most of Thursday, giving folks a chance to make the journey through if needbe to Denver or back.
  • Once we get to Thursday night into Friday, things get a little more tricky.

  • By Noon Friday, snow, freezing rain, sleet and everything in between will start becoming widespread across the front range and the Northern Plains.
  • Road conditions after lunch on Friday will start to deteriorate – you should already be at your destination by Friday evening as things will not get better going into Saturday across the whole of the Northern Plains…

  • Saturday’s storm system has shifted slightly North in latest forecast guidance models, meaning Northeastern Wyoming and Western South Dakota could be in the bulls-eye for the largest impacts out of this system.
  • Areas South of I-80 into Colorado, Kansas and Southern Nebraska could avoid major impacts if this system does move farther North.

  • By Sunday, conditions are expected to improve across the Northern Plains – with some leftover gusty winds and snow covered roads to deal with still.
  • Hubs like Denver and Cheyenne should have fair travel conditions by this point, but make sure to give yourself extra time if you’re trying to get back to the Black Hills from those locations.

TRAVEL FORECAST – EAST

  • Several inches of snow are expected along I-90 Tuesday, especially as you travel East river through Sioux Falls and Minnesota.
  • Omaha, Des Moines and Minneapolis all are expected to have travel delays through early Wednesday morning

  • Although skies will be clearing, snow covered roads could still make travel difficult on Wednesday heading East
  • Make sure you check road conditions before you head out the door, and give yourself extra time.

  • The process starts all over again on Thanksgiving, when we expect snow to return to East River and areas of Nebraska by the afternoon and evening.
  • From this point forward, conditions are not expected to improve across the Northern Plains until at least Sunday.

  • A Mixture of Rain, Freezing Rain, Sleet and snow will starting banding together all through Friday, causing delays in travel and slick roads.
  • By Friday afternoon, you should be at your final destination for at least the next 36 hours, as a full transition to snow is expected through the I-90 corridor from Northern Wyoming all the way to the Great Lakes.

  • Gusty winds, heavy snow and poor visibility are all possible Saturday, especially in West River and Northeastern Wyoming.
  • Winds will continue to pick up through Saturday morning, making efforts to clear roads and resume travel extremely difficult.
  • If you’re looking to at least get close to the Black Hills, I-80 from Omaha to Cheyenne looks to avoid major impacts on Saturday, and you might be able to get away with at least getting close to the Black Hills and then heading North early Sunday morning.

  • Most Snow activity will have tapered off by noon Sunday, with lasting impacts still being felt in Sioux Falls, Des Moines and Minneapolis as high winds and snow continue to push East.
  • Just because the accumulating snow will be ending does not mean roads will be 100% clear – check road conditions before you leave as their could be No-Travel advisories and closed roads across the Northern Plains.

DISCUSSION

The big concern I have for folks wanting to travel this weekend is the wind. Moderate to heavy snow is one thing, but once you add wind and cold temperatures to the mix (teens and 20s), now you’re starting to compound smaller problems into bigger problems. You can get whiteout conditions with only 3″-5″ of snow as long as winds are sustained, so don’t focus so much on snow accumulations – (Notice I haven’t included any on here) – that’s not the big story. If we do indeed get large amounts of snow, all the more reason to play the game very cautiously as we approach Friday and Saturday.

I will start putting out accumulation maps before long here, as confidence grows about who will see the largest impacts. So far, The Black Hills region and Northeastern Wyoming look to receive the brunt of activity Friday night into Saturday. We’re still more than three days out, but confidence is high that travel impacts will be likely – this is why I’ve been posting multiple forecasts a day on the subject.

There are MULTIPLE events being planned this weekend across the Black Hills, I’m not here to discourage anyone from keeping those plans in place. The Rapid City Parade of Lights, for example, is still scheduled for Saturday and will only cancel if a No-Travel advisory is issued for the city. We’re still more than three days out here folks. What I am saying, is that a contingency plan at this point would be very, very wise. It’s going to be tough at this point for this to miss us completely – but we’ll keep an eye on it. Once again, appreciate everyone tuning in to these forecast blogs and trusting us with your forecast. I want nothing more than for everyone to be reunited with loved ones and friends, but safely. This is definitely a situation where we can hope for the best, but we should prepare for quite the doozy… Look for the next update early tomorrow morning! Be safe out there – Brant

 

Need a recap for the next 48 hours? Got that posted below in my early morning forecast!


TUESDAY MORNING FORECAST 5:30 AM

SCHOOL CLOSURES AND DELAYS ——————>>> Nc1.tv/closings

  • Right off the bat, a look at radar conditions early this morning shows snow creeping into areas near the Nebraska border and the Black hills.
  • The Northern and Eastern foothills could see on and off snow bands throughout the morning and afternoon as well.

  • Winter Weather Advisories remain in effect for Fall River, Oglala Lakota, Jackson & Bennett Counties until 5 pm this evening.
  • This will be for snow amounts ranging from 1″-3″ to 2″-4″ closer to the Nebraska border. (Here’s looking at you Pine Ridge)
  • Although the Black Hills and foothills are not in the winter weather advisories, there could be light accumulations and slick roads.
  • The I-90 corridor between Rapid City and Spearfish could see 1″-3″ in some spots, including higher elevations of the Black Hills.

  • Light snow is expected on and off throughout the day, with areas North of the Black Hills seeing little impacts, if any snow at all.
  • Temperatures will be in the 20s and 30s, with breezy northwest winds making for a fairly chilly day, bundle up!

  • Road conditions as of 4:30 this morning showed mostly clear roads, with the exception being the higher elevations of the Black Hills.
  • Areas along the I-90 corridor  between Rapid City and Spearfish and areas along US-18 near the Nebraska border are starting to see slick roads, stay alert.

  • Snow bands and light snow showers will move through the region until this afternoon, when activity is expected to wind down.
  • Breezy conditions could also be a factor, particularly as you head South. Blowing snow and higher accumulations will become more likely as you head towards South Central South Dakota as well.

  • The Black hills get a nice break on Wednesday with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the 20s and 30s – so still on the cooler side.
  • Perhaps a few flurries overnight into Thanksgiving, where Southeasterly winds will begin to pick up with our next approaching system.
  • A few snow/rain bands could push through the Black Hills by Thursday afternoon, and after that things don’t get better, to put it lightly.

THANKSGIVING DISCUSSION –

  • Thanksgiving morning should be relatively quiet, with a few snow/rain showers to our East.
  • By Thursday evening though, conditions will start to deteriorate as a rain/snow/sleet/freezing rain mix will start across the region and become more widespread into late Thursday and early Friday.
  • Friday will feature more mixed precipitation, with slick roads and poor road conditions becoming more commonplace. Temperatures will hang in the lowers 30s, but then will quickly drop as we approach Friday evening, with a full transition to snow expected.
  • Saturday is the big game. Heavy snow bands with windy conditions are expected – travel will be difficult, if not impossible in some situations.
  • Snow maps are starting to come together, but still a far ways out – The Black Hills, including areas North and East in the plains, thus far, are expecting the heavier snow amounts. Its hard to say what those snow amounts are…. but we aren’t thinking a dusting here.
  • Temperatures will be in the 20s, possibly teens by Saturday evening with driving wind and the possibility of blowing snow.
  • These details are still coming together, but I wanted to give you all an idea of what the conversation between forecasters has been so far – and so far this system looks like it could be the real deal.
  • Later this morning, I’ll be posting an updated travel forecast for Sioux Falls and Denver along with road conditions – so stay tuned.

Be safe out there folks, I’ll be monitoring this throughout the day and will be sure to update you all on any big forecast changes or pertinent road conditions. Thanks for tuning in with us! Happy Tuesday! -Brant

Current Conditions

 

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