Warnings and Advisories Issued: Blowing snow expected tonight into Saturday

Expected Snow amounts have decreased across the area, but high winds and blowing snow will still make travel difficult


Let’s break down the warnings and advisories, region by region, and what we can generally expect

  • The advisory covers a large area of West River, but the accumulations and impacts will vary greatly within this shaded region. I believe Rapid City will still see around 3-6″  of snow. Don’t focus so much on the snow accumulations, its the 40 mph winds that will really make travel dangerous at times, particularly Saturday morning. Areas like Hot Springs and Edgemont will still see some accumulations, but wind levels and Snow accumulations look to be below advisory levels.

  • I think if anybody sees the highest snow accumulations, it will be the Northern Black Hills. Upslope Snowfall looks likely going into Saturday, combine that with gusty winds and you have a recipe for poor travel conditions. I think the Northern Hills could see more snow, along the lines of 4-7″, while the foothills like Spearfish and Sturgis see the Advised 3-5″. Remember though, it wont matter how much snow you get if winds are blowing at 40 mph, it’ll just come from somewhere else. Don’t let accumulation amounts dictate the severity of this system.

  • Although Winds are expected to be only 30 mph, adding 3-6″ of snow on top of that will make for travel headaches all the same. The warning starts at 3 PM, earlier than the other warnings and advisories, so keep that in mind. Once again, blowing snow is the deal here, and will be the main issue.

  • This is the area that could see the biggest impacts from this system. 4-7″ of snow is well within reach, if not a little more. 40… even 45 mph winds could be whipping across the area for most of Saturday. No travel advisories are almost a guarantee for these zones as blowing snow, .. sometimes hours at a time, will make travel extremely difficult on the exposed great plains.

Alright, Now that we’ve broken down each region, lets do a general overview

  • Freezing fog will be the main event for Rapid City Friday, with mixed precipitation moving in around Friday afternoon
  • Don’t be fooled by accumulation estimates, it doesn’t matter if you get 2″ of snow or 6″, 40 mph winds will move it all around, making travel difficult Friday night into Saturday
  • Having that said, despite Advisory levels, I think 3-6″  of accumulations is very reasonable for Rapid City, particularly as you head North along the I-90 corridor through Black Hawk, Piedmont, Tilford and Sturgis. The area can act like a wind tunnel for rogue bands of snow, and I think this system will be no different
  • I think this system is a great candidate for some up-slope snow in the Northern Black Hills, so don’t be caught off guard Saturday if some moderate bands are still hangin’ around.
  • Blowing snow is the main concern Saturday morning and afternoon. Avoid travel if you can, you don’t need deep snow to make travel dangerous, just snow covered roads and low visibility, which are expected impacts.
  • Sunday we clear out, but roads could still be difficult in spots, so use caution. Temperatures during this time period, thankfully, are expected to stay in the teens and 20’s at the very least.
  • We get a break Monday before…. yes…. another system will be coming through Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. I know we all have winter storm fatigue, but I implore you to watch this one carefully as well. We are in the full swing of March, clearly.

The distinct circulation is what is making the accumulation forecast so localized. Any shift in this system could mean a lot more snow than forecasted for some areas, while others are left high and dry. Regardless, winds are going to be a factor pretty much everywhere besides the Southern Hills.

DON’T LET LOW ACCUMULATIONS FOOL YOU, a lot of this will be blowing around, so any areas that are plowed will quickly become covered again. stay alert, and avoid travel if possible Friday night into Saturday morning.

This is what will be causing most of the mess. Gusty winds up to 40 mph will cause blowing snow, particularly out in the plains.

Stay alert everyone, still got another couple of hours before everything gets started. This forecast could shift a little bit more, but confidence is growing that impacts will be felt for a large part of the region. Stick with Newscenter1 for the latest! Here are some current conditions for you posted below.

Current Conditions

Hourly Forecast

Extended Forecast

Weather Resources

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