Winter Storm Warning for the Northern Black Hills: Upslope enhancement a big player

Upslope enhancement will create a very specific snow of possible heavy snow accumulations, with other areas expected to receive possible light accumulations as well.

  • Right off the bat, it should be mentioned that most of the region will see little impacts out of this storm system, save for some light snow accumulations and some breezy conditions.
  • Rapid City could hold off on light snow until the afternoon, by which time some light accumulations will be possible with temperatures maybe cresting the mid to upper 30s.


  • A Winter Storm Warning and a Winter Weather Advisory have been issued for areas of the Central and Northern Black Hills, including the Bear Lodge Mountains and the I-90 corridor between Sturgis and Sundance.
  • There is a very specific area of upslope enhancement that is being centered in the higher elevations of Lawrence County.

  • The National Weather Service in Billings, MT has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Sheridan County, WY for moderate snow accumulations.
  • Snow has already started this morning and will continue on and off through tomorrow evening.

  • This will be a fast moving, intense system that will being periods of heavy snow to the Northern Hills, and small – quick bursts of snow to other regions.
  • Other areas will see strafing snow action, but much of it may have a hard time reaching the surface – there could even be brief periods of sunshine inbetween snow bands.

  • Right around lunchtime winds will start picking up a bit out of the Northwest for the Black Hills and South Dakota Plains.
  • Northeast Wyoming is already dealing with some of these gusty winds which could lead to patchy blowing and drifting snow.
  • If any areas outside of the Black Hills get a good burst of snow (which is likely) it could lead to temporary travel issues given gusty winds – use caution.

  • By Thursday evening, a distinct band of snow will form outside of the Black Hills between Carter County, Montana stretching Southeast through the Black Hills and towards the Southern Portions of our area.
  • This could lead to light accumulations of 1″-3″ outside of the Black Hills, but seeing how thin this band will be – many will miss out on this portion of the snow.
  • Having that said, If you’re driving West from …let’s say Faith.. heading towards the Black Hills, don’t be surprised to run into some quick bursts of snow without much warning. Never trust a clipper!

  • By Friday morning, most snow has exited the region, save for Sheridan County and areas of the Bighorn Mountains.
  • Northerly winds will be on the gusty side, reaching 25 to 30 mph with temperatures in the 20s and 30s… a little chilly out there!

  • When we’re talking accumulations, we’re really talking about the Northern Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mountains – everywhere else is expecting light to maybe moderate accumulations.
  • 5″-8″ for areas near Savoy, Cheyenne Crossing, Lead, Deadwood and Spearfish Canyon.
  • Areas just outside the upslope zone could see “collateral snow” with accumulations up to 3″-5″ near Rochford, Silver City, Sundance, Bear Lodge Mountains, Spearfish, and areas jsut Northeast of Newcastle.
  • The SD plains are a tough call, a thin band of persistent snow is likely to set up along or just East of the Black Hills from along North/South line.
  • Wherever that line sets up will be where 1″-3″ could set up… perhaps even more in some isolated spots.
  • So far, the line looks to set up somewhere near Camp Crook, SD and stretch South through Newell, just outside the Black Hills towards New Underwood and right through the Badlands towards Pine Ridge. If this line moves East or West even by 25 miles – some folks could be left high and dry while others get an unexpected burst of snow in their neighborhood this evening.
  • Best medicine for this kind of situation? Check the radar before you head out the door if you’re looking to travel this evening.

  • Friday we get a good break before we head into another potential clipper Saturday night into Sunday.
  • Saturday night’s system looks like it’ll be a carbon copy of today’s system, with the Northern Black Hills getting moderate accumulations and everyone else looking at light accumulations overall.

  • Here’s a quick snapshot of what our weekend system could produce accumulation-wise.
  • Things look dry Sunday afternoon through Monday and Tuesday before another potential system looks likely by Wednesday of next week.


Still watching Wednesday-Thursday of next week… some models have back off on the jet stream taking a plunge into the four corners – and yet a strong ridge into Alaska persists into next week so I’m not sold we won’t still see something decent. As long as Northwesterly flow persists – the probability of large-scale heavy snow events just isn’t likely. That’s why watching the jet stream is important – as it can give us hints as to where the source of our storm system, and our moisture is coming from. You want big snow? Gulf Moisture is a key ingredient in these parts. It’s not the ONLY factor, but its one of the best ways to look into the long range and see if a good system is possible on the horizon.

For now, we’ll deal with our clipper and upslope enhancement. Skiers will have a good time with our short range forecast – that much I can say. Be safe out there! -Brant

Current Conditions

Categories: Local News, Weather Daily