SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A major winter storm, spanning multiple days, will bring the threat of blizzard, snow, rain, ice and even lightning, to different areas of South Dakota.
Central South Dakota, areas around Pierre, Murdo, Mobridge, Chamberlain and Winner, are all expected to see the brunt of the storm’s snowfall starting Monday and ending Thursday.
KELOLAND meteorologist Brian Karstens said Pierre could see anywhere from 18 to 24 inches of snow by 6 a.m. Thursday. Karstens said the probability of more than 6 inches of snow is 100% for Pierre and Mobridge and the line where blizzard warnings change to winter storm warnings is near Murdo.
“The primary focus is heavy snow,” Karstens said. “Because of the long duration of this, we’re going to set up some amounts of snow easily over a foot.”
Karstens said the timeline for the storm starts Monday night into Tuesday and conditions will continue to get worse throughout Tuesday.
“Eventually you’re all going to end up with a lot of snow,” Karstens said. “It’s going to plaster that whole region by the end of the week.”
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Pierre preparing for snow
City of Pierre street superintendent Nick Hericks told KELOLAND News the city crew has 10 snow plow trucks and two road graders. He said once snow gets around 2 to 3 inches, crews will be busy moving snow and clearing emergency routes.
“No good way to prepare,” Hericks said about preparing for 18-24 inches of snow. “We’ll do everything we can.”
With snow amounts over a foot, Hericks said finding areas to put those high amounts of snow can be troublesome. He said crews will attempt to make streets passable as the snow piles up.
“Don’t go if you don’t have too,” Hericks said. “Be patient. It takes a lot of time and man-hours to clear the snow.”
The South Dakota Department of Public Safety called the storm a “we are not kidding kind of storm” on social media.
“Keep updated on the latest forecasts. Reconsider any travel plans. Have enough supplies at home including prescription medications and all other necessities,” the department posted on Twitter.
Gov. Kristi Noem also posted a video on social media reminding people to watch the weather over the next few days.
“We’re just asking that you make wise decisions,” Noem said.
DOT planning around the state
Craig Smith, Director of Operations for South Dakota Department of Transportation, told KELOLAND News he focuses on making sure the equipment is available in the right locations.
“A storm like this presents some challenges. There’s a little uncertainty as far as the amount of snow we are going to have. Icing, freezing rain, that might cause a different set of problems or issues out on the road,” Smith said. “You really need to have all those tools ready to go.”
Smith said the long duration for this winter storm will bring challenges and long hours. He said visibility is always the biggest concern with a winter storm.
“There’s really no tool out there to help you with visibility, you’re really challenged in those conditions,” Smith said. “When you have that much snow and our ditches start getting filled with snow, it doesn’t take much of a wind that we may not be getting any new snow, but the blowing snow can present some road condition problems.”
Smith said the DOT’s 511 website and 511 phone number provides up-to-date road condition information.
“If you don’t need to travel, stay safe at home, because that is likely going to be the safest place at least for portions of the storm,” Smith said. “We’ve really tried to increase our social media presence during events like this. We’ve got the capability to take pictures from some of our snowplows throughout the storm.”