Winter Storm Watch Issued for Easter Weekend
Heavy snow accumulations will be possible in portions of the Black Hills and the foothills, with conditions expected to deteriorate Saturday afternoon and evening.
- This weekend’s forecast is important, but lets not leave Thursday out of the mix here! Plenty of sunshine expected.
- Things will be on the breezy side with temperatures generally in the 40s, not as windy as yesterday but you’ll want a wind jacket as things will still feel on the chilly side much like yesterday.
- The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the higher elevations of the Black Hills and Sheridan County, Wyoming.
- The Watch calls for 6+” of snow or more across the areas outline, but two important things should be noted here.
- ONE: The timeline may shift to Saturday afternoon for the Black Hills, this is still a developing forecast and the horses are still jockeying for position here towards the finish line forecast-wise.
- TWO: Advisories will more than likely be issued for the Eastern foothills and surrounding areas, as places like Rapid City, and communities along the I-90 corridor towards Wyoming could see upslope enhancement. Stay tuned this afternoon for those advisories.
- Friday morning will be a little on the warmer side, with 50s and possibly 60s across the region and sunshine to start things out.
- Friday evening will be relatively uneventful, as clouds begin to push in from the West and Northwest.
- Rain showers will start to move in – particularly after midnight. Some snow could start mixing in fro higher elevations during this time period.
- By early Saturday morning after about 2-4 AM things will be in full swing precipitation wise, with rain/snow showers trying to overcome initial dry air at the surface.
- This means that it may be quite some time before moisture can sock in, and saturate the lower levels. This will lead to dry pockets to start this thing out, with areas receiving little to no precipitation Saturday morning. (but its snowing above you!)
- By Saturday afternoon things are really starting to fill in, with banding starting to take place, along with upslope enhancement along the Northern and Eastern Foothills.
- There may still be some rain/mixing taking place, but by late Saturday afternoon most precipitation should transfer to snow by this time period.
- The good news is we aren’t expecting high winds, although breezy conditions in the usual spots (looking at you Box Elder) may see some drifting and blowing snow towards the late afternoon and evening.
- the *Zenith* of our system will by Saturday night, when cold air finally entrenches itself into the Hills and surrounding plains, with moisture being tossed into the freezer.
- Temperatures will dip into the teens and 20s, with roads freezing and slick conditions making travel difficult.
- This activity is expected to continue through Easter Sunday morning, with dry air starting to work its way from North to South.
- Once again, travel will be difficult at this time as roads will be well frozen by now – with any additional accumulations sticking fairly well to paved surfaces.
- By Lunchtime Sunday we’re looking much better.. chilly… but at the very least dry with a few leftover snow showers across the area.
- The higher accumulations, for now, look to be concentrating in the Northern Black hills. 6″ of snow looks easily achievable for this area, with some spots likely to receive much higher than that.
- The big question mark will be the Northern and Eastern foothills, where the most volatility in the forecast will be likely.
- My guess is we’re going to have some high numbers just West of the I-90 corridor in the eastern foothills, with places like Nemo, Johnson Siding, and Rockerville seeing some of the isolated pockets of heavy accumulations.
- Towards the plains, North of I-90 looks to see less impacts and areas South of I-90 could see higher accumulations and impacts.
- The Nebraska panhandle just over the border could have some decent banding, with Pine ridge and areas close to the border getting some collateral snowfall amounts.
- Northeastern Wyoming will see colder temperatures, and therefore less rain and more snow to start – but we’ll wait for the next run of forecast guidance to start throwing out specific accumulation amounts.
Like I mentioned earlier, we’re going to see more advisories posted this afternoon and evening as the forecast becomes a little more clear. This is not like last week’s snow event, which was a relative slam dunk forecast-wise even three days out…. this one will have some surprises. If I’m placing my bets, the Northern and Eastern foothills will get a bump to expected snow accumulations right before it kicks the door in, so i’m just giving you all a heads up that there will probably be some interesting swings in the forecast right up to the finish line.
Of course, I’ll keep forecast discussions fresh and frequent over the next 48 hours so we can stay on top of it. Thanks for trusting us with your forecast, make sure to wash your hands! -Brant