SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The southeastern part of South Dakota is once again bracing for a winter weather event that could bring anywhere between one and 10 inches of snow depending on where you live.
Yankton County Emergency Manager Paul Scherschligt is hopeful that another round of double-digit snowfall could improve drought conditions in the county.
“We’ve heard anywhere from four to six inches of moisture that we have received with all the snow so far,” Scherschligt told KELOLAND News Wednesday morning. “So, that kind of bodes well for more snow to help it out.
KELOLAND meteorologist Scot Mundt said that this winter is already the seventh wettest winter on the books for South Dakota. Some areas have already seen between two to three feet of snow with more to come.
“The trick is trying to get that water into the ground, which is hard to do when you have a good base of snow on top of the ground anyway,” Mundt explained.
Once spring comes around, we’ll have to watch how much of that snow runs off into lakes and rivers, Mundt continued but the current moisture can do nothing but help the drought situation.
Scherschlight said that while the snow could help with drought conditions, they don’t want to see the snow melt too quickly, causing a major melt. Mundt agrees and likened the potential snow melt to 1997.
“We had a deep snowpack and then we had it all melt more or less at once during the spring and then that led to massive flooding across the central and the upper plains and into the Midwest,” Mundt said.
For now, Mundt says that the below freezing temperatures are looking to hold steady through February but once spring arrives, days in the 40s and 50s could cause that deep snowpack to melt.
While the increased moisture this winter is a good sign right now, Mundt said that come planting season there could be a concern in some areas of lands being too wet once the snow melts.
“So, we have to proceed with caution exactly what we want to wish for too,” Mundt said.
Yankton County is preparing for a double-digit snowfall after a foot of snow fell just a few weeks ago. Scherschligt said that the city of Yankton has cleared the intersections and roads, but another large snowfall combined with strong winds could cause issues.
“We’re probably going to see some stuff where they’re going to have to push back further, in other words instead of along the curve, it might have to go back into the right aways,” Scherschligt said.
Scherschligt also wants to remind people to be prepared for travel during the storm with a winter kit as well as alerting friends and family that you are travelling and provide regular updates so that they know you are safe.
“Make sure you have a cell phone that you can maybe call somebody to come out and get you or you know, a tow truck to pull you out,” Scherschligt said.
Like many communities in southeastern KELOLAND, Yankton is dealing with parking lots and ditches full of snow. While much of the snow was hauled out after the last storm system, Scherschligt said more snowfall could make the situation worse.