Winter Storm Watch Issued for the Black Hills Region

A potent winter storm is likely for this weekend, and the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for most of our area.

  • Temperatures will be cool with highs in the 20s and 30s, but otherwise conditions will be sunny and dry.
  • Clouds will be on the increase as we progress through Wednesday afternoon.

  • A Winter Storm Watch has been issued for the vast majority of our region, save for Jackson and Bennett County starting on Friday evening and going into late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
  • Freezing drizzle and freezing rain could make roads slick by Friday afternoon and evening.
  • 6″ or more of snow can be expected in the plains, with up to 60 MPH wind gusts Friday night through Saturday.
  • 12″ or more of snow is possible for the hills, with up to 45 mph wind gusts.
  • This could lead to blizzard-like conditions with blowing snow and limited visibility.

  • A snapshot of the next three days shows that Friday will be the first day we could see impacts.
  • Thanksgiving will remain dry, albeit a little on the breezy side. Notice Southerly winds will be persistent over the next couple days as moisture is brought up through the Great Plains.

  • Kicking off the timeline, impacts could start as early as Friday morning, with areas of freezing drizzle, sleet, flurries and scattered snow showers being likely
  • Dry air could hold things off until Friday afternoon, giving folks a little time to grab a few last minute things and run a few errands.

  • Things will start kickin’ by about Friday evening, with winds starting to pick up and a full transition to snow expected.
  • The transition from drizzly, cloudy weather to windy, snowy conditions will be quick, so make sure not to be caught off guard when things get started – even if things seem ok for the time being.

  • By Friday night, our storm will be in high gear, possibly dumping large amounts of snow and seriously impacting travel.
  • You should be hunkered down at this point, with monopoly, a good movie and a few good snacks.
  • Temperatures will continue to drop, possibly in the single digits – this means wind chills will dip into the negatives as this storm picks up.
  • This is NOT a situation where you want to be outside, unless you absolutely have to.

  • Even though we push the timeline all the way to Saturday afternoon, not much has changed, except perhaps the wind picking up speed – up to 50-60 mph.
  • I have no doubt we could see a few 70 mph wind gusts… There is every indication that this storm is the real deal and should be taken seriously, especially Friday night through Saturday morning.

  • We finally see the system exit out area sometime Sunday morning, with plenty of sunshine for Sunday afternoon and temperatures in the 20s.
  • Roads will more than likely still be snow covered, so don’t assume everything will be ready to go by Sunday morning – it may take all the way until Sunday evening before roads are passable.

  • Snow accumulation maps show the heaviest snow is likely in the Northern Black Hills and along the Eastern Foothills through Rapid City
  • No specifics as of yet, we’re still a couple days out, but regardless of what the total accumulations are we’re still expecting very gusty winds and blowing snow.
  • This will make it difficult to keep roads clear, and could make travel almost impossible at times.

DISCUSSION

We’re starting to close in on the track, timing, impacts and personality of this system. It’s strong, and has every potential to bring the Black Hills to a standstill – particularly because of the winds expected with this storm. Even if somehow our snow totals drop to 3″-4″ – 60 MPH wind gusts will still be a big, big issue – don’t focus so much on the accumulations, instead focus on the impacts. Stay tuned, we’ll have more updates on this through the morning and the next couple of days. Thanks for tuning in with us! -Brant

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