Winter Storm Watch Issued: One-Two Punch expected Monday & Tuesday

A Strong Clipper system is expected to bring snow, wind and difficult travel conditions in two separate waves Monday morning through Tuesday afternoon

NEW FORECAST DISCUSSION POSTED, CLICK HERE

UPDATE:  The winter storm watch has been upgraded to a winter storm warning in the Northern Black Hills and Northern Foot Hills. Between 6-12 inches of snow expected. Looking east, there is also now a winter storm advisory in place for the Piedmont Foot Hills which may bring between 3-5 inches of snow, with strong wind gusts. Look out for updates as we get closer to this event, enjoy your evening. – Dominique


 

TLDR: This is NOT a wide impact, high impact system. This will be a system that has highly localized impacts which people should anticipate if they plan to travel, particularly Monday night into Tuesday morning. Full breakdown below!

  • Sunday will feature relatively mild temperatures, but cooler than what we’ve seen Friday and Saturday.
  • Northerly winds will turn Easterly later on this afternoon, with increasing clouds as we approach the evening hours.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN RAPID CITY HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WATCH FOR THE NORTHERN BLACK HILLS, INCLUDING THE BEAR LODGE MOUNTAINS

  • A watch indicates that details are still coming together, but so far there’s high confidence that upslope snow is going to be a factor for the Northern Black Hills when it comes to snow accumulations.
  • I anticipate this will be upgraded to a winter storm warning by this afternoon and evening, with surrounding areas getting their own advisories – make sure to stay tuned to those updates.
  • From the get-go, winds are going to be the main issue here… so as you’re reading this forecast discussion remember that snow accumulations don’t necessarily equal impacts. Impacts equal impacts – so with that we’ll move forward.

  • Winter Weather advisories have been posted for areas just South of the Black Hills towards Lusk, WY and Crawford, NE.
  • Does not include our area… yet. But something to keep in mind if you have plans to travel South.

TIMELINE

  • Plenty of sunshine today with increasing clouds later on in the evening – no impacts expected until the early morning hours of Monday, so you should have no trouble going about your business.

  • The first of two distinct waves will approach Northeastern Wyoming and Carter County, MT by late Sunday into early Monday morning.
  • Snow showers with breezy conditions will move through generally after midnight – most activity for the South Dakota side of things should wait until the early morning hours.

  • 5 AM Monday snow and wind will be quickly pushing through the region, approaching the I-90 corridor and potentially Rapid City by the 6-8 AM time frame.
  • Snow covered roads will be likely with windy conditions – make sure to give yourself extra time to get to your destination Monday morning.
  • The good news is most of the action will be short lived – a hard hitting clipper that quickly moves Eastward.

  • Early Monday morning is when winds are expected to pick up from the Northwest 30-40 MPH, with some gusts up to 50 MPH.
  • So any snow bands that do move through could drop visibility temporarily and making travel difficult.

  • Something to note will be our relatively mild temperatures across the region Monday morning.
  • Gusty winds could chop up most of the large “pancake snowflakes” before they reach the surface, but anywhere with slightly calmer winds could see large flakes that quickly cover road surfaces and makes things slick. Use caution.

  • The 9 AM to 12 PM time frame will see impacts clear out from West to East, with Eastern portions of our area still seeing snowy and windy conditions into the lunch hour.
  • Winds will continue, but most snow will taper off leading to partly cloudy skies in Northeastern Wyoming and overall clearing conditions in Rapid City going into the lunch hour.

  • The second wave will start around lunchtime for the Northern and Central Black Hills as upslope enhancement starts to kick into high gear.
  • Rapid City and the South Dakota side of things should get a break inbetween systems as our second wave approaches from the Northwest.

  • By 5 PM things are starting to kick back up across the area, impacts moving Northwest to Southeast through the evening hours.
  • Snow bands will start to become more numerous as winds continue to cause problems for visibility and road conditions – especially as things get dark.

  • Monday night into Tuesday morning will see some of the larger impacts out of this system – its imperative you check road conditions before heading out anytime after 5 PM Monday evening.
  • Patchy blowing and drifting snow, combined with dropping temperatures (into the low 20s) will freeze up roads and could cause problems. Stay alert.

  • Relatively light snow and gusty winds will continue into the early morning hours of Tuesday.
  • Dry air will begin filtering in at this point and breaking up most of the snow bands from Northwest to Southeast through the late morning.

  • Upslope enhancement is expected to continue through the lunch hour for the Northern Hills, but everyone overall should start to see improvements through Tuesday afternoon.
  • As things begin to clear up, hit-and-run snow bands could still be hunting around the I-90 corridor between Sundance and Rapid City.

  • Real improvements be Tuesday evening as winds begin to taper off and dry air wins the battle across most of the region.
  • A few stubborn bands could hang on in the Black Hills but overall road conditions should be improving by this point.

  • The system pushes out by late Tuesday, with perhaps a few leftover snow showers in the Northern Hills.
  • Things dry out and clear out by Wednesday, with temperatures recovering into the 20s and 30s.

SNOW ACCUMULATIONS

  • Two things to realize about this map – One is that these accumulations will come from two separate systems, and number two is that 1″-3″ of snow with 50 mph winds can ruin anyone’s day… so don’t assume snow accumulations directly correlate to impacts – the winds will be the big deal here.
  • Having that said, the Northern Hills should take the cake with accumulations pushing the 6″-9″ range. I could easily see a foot of snow in isolated spots near Cheyenne Crossing and Spearfish Canyon. Bear Lodge mountains could see a healthy 3″-6″ with some isolated pockets of 6″+
  • The I-90 corridor between Sundance, WY and Rapid City is tricky, as always, but a general 3″-6″ of snow seems reasonable given the parameters.
  • I cheated and put 2″-5″+ of snow for Rapid City, but there’s a reason. I think the Western side of town could see 3″-6″, while areas East of Rapid City towards Box Elder could see 2″-4″.
  • Northwestern Wyoming could see 2″-4″, save for the Newcastle region and rural Weston county where downsloping winds could feature a “snow shadow”.
  • This snow shadow could include The Southern Hills in areas like Hot Springs, Edgemont and Pringle where accumulations could reach and inch or two… surface winds are going to shift this “dry pocket” but overall the placement seems reasonable. Prepare for 2″-4″ of snow but if you end up getting less – all the better.
  • The SD plains overall could see 1″-3″, but realize that most of this is going to be blowing around. Pine ridge and areas of Jackson/Bennett County could see a 2″-4″ mark.

REMEMBER- we’re going to be seeing winds gusting around 40-50 MPH, so most of these accumulations could end up all on one side of the house. This means you could see patches of road completely clear of snow, only to find large drifts right in the middle. Use caution, even with a *paltry* 1″-3″ forecasted!

FORECAST DISCUSSION

This is NOT a wide impact, high impact system. This will be a system that has highly localized impacts which people should anticipate if they plan to travel, particularly Monday night into Tuesday morning. There. I said it. Worst case scenario we get localized areas of temporary high winds and heavy snow bands. Most of this system will occur Monday night into Tuesday, but be ready for slick conditions Monday morning as well.

The timeline seems a little wonky, because it is. We’re forecasting a break in the action between Monday morning and Tuesday evening – but don’t bank everything on that – you CAN’T trust a clipper to do what you want it to do. Small hit-and-run bands of snow sitting over *just* the right spot at lunchtime Monday could throw that so-called “break” right out the window.

Once again, because I’ve only said it five times in this discussion, the winds are the big deal here. We could see areas of the South Dakota plains get -zero- winter weather advisories… and instead get wind advisories. Dry air pockets could plague snow totals before all is said and done, but the good news is even if you do get a good amount of snow and wind – temperatures aren’t expected to be insanely cold. Could still see teens out there with single digit wind chills, so don’t go out in shorts and a t-shirt necessarily… Mild temperatures could also mean “wet” snow which could make things feel colder.

For those wondering about livestock, although we could see some wet snow/perhaps even a quick transition to rain we aren’t expecting a polar plunge Monday night – so that should keep the table relatively high temperature wise. Notice also we aren’t talking the “B” word here (Bli**ard) and we are anticipating keeping that off that table. Snow totals just wont be high enough to cause major widespread impacts – just don’t have the moisture.

For those looking to travel… check the radar and road conditions before you walk out the door. we will have a page set up that has both ready to go as you need it. If you see things are clear, don’t expect things to necessarily stay that way for long – short trips and a winter kit is the key here.

We’ll have another update early tomorrow morning, but overall we are looking at a pretty darn good clipper, with above normal moisture. Windy conditions will make travel difficult at times… if not impossible for very short periods of time. These impacts, however, will be in isolated pockets and not necessarily across the entire region. Don’t be bummed if you miss the show – be happy you can get around! For snow lovers out there, if you do miss out, we’re entering the two months of the year where we get almost a third of all our snow… I anticipate we’ll have more chances as we approach March.

Send in your snow reports and pictures! We love them, and we’ll send them in to the National Weather Service so they can keep a tally. Be safe out there, and thank you for trusting us with your forecast – we understand there’s alot riding for many folks out there and have to make financial choices based on that forecast. Stay tuned for updates this afternoon… more advisories and warnings are likely to be issued. -Brant

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