SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The snow fall may mostly be gone from much of KELOLAND but the winds are causing ground blizzards. Visibility is affected in most of the state.
Shortly after noon Thursday, the South Dakota Department of Public Safety said no travel was advised for all of South Dakota. The DPS sent a public safety alert to smart phones.
Interstate 90 from Rapid City to Sioux Falls will close at 5 p.m. Thursday. I-90 from Rapid City to Chamberlain was closed on Wednesday.
Interstate 29 will close from Sioux Falls to the North Dakota border at 6 p.m. Thursday.
“Officials will continually assess conditions to determine when I-90 and I-29 can be reopened safely,” a news release from the DOT states.
The blowing snow is impacting road conditions and it’s also apparently impacting flights out of the Sioux Falls Regional Airport as some flights were canceled or delayed. The airport announced it would be closed starting at 1 p.m. Thursday until 6 p.m. Friday.
Craig Smith, director of operations with the South Dakota Department of Transportation, said after last week’s heavy snow, it doesn’t take much wind to create problems on many roads in South Dakota.
“Once those ditches get full of snow, there’s really nowhere for it to go other than get blown around, cause the drifting and visibility problems we’re seeing,” Smith said.
Smith said the high speeds will cause the same issues on Friday. He said he’s hopeful some of the winds will start slow in western South Dakota, but eastern South Dakota will be sustained into the night.
“We’re going to be watching that to see how those conditions improve and see what kind of drifting we have to clean up on those sections of the interstate that are closed,” Smith said.
At 10 a.m. the KELOLAND Live Cams showed sunshine in Aberdeen, Miller, Sioux Falls and other cities but KELOLAND meteorologists warn the public: Don’t let the sun fool you, it’s still very, very cold with dangerous wind chills from those high winds. Also, visibility toward the ground can be poor because the high winds are blowing snow.
KELOLAND meteorologist Brian Karstens said at 8 a.m. that Pierre has had wind gusts over 50 mph with more drifting snow.
Karstens said the winter weather advisories are “strongly worded” because there is reduced visibility and extreme cold. It’s possible that some advisory areas could be changed to blizzards areas.
Temperatures will be below zero across South Dakota and combined with winds of 25 to 30 mph with gusts at 40 or even 50, wind chills are dangerous.
Wind speeds and wind chills
At 5 a.m. this morning the temperature in Sioux Falls was 16 degrees below zero with a wind chill of minus 45.
Karstens reported just after 7 a.m. that some wind chills had dropped to about minus 48.
Karstens said wind speeds should pick up today in southeastern South Dakota.
Karstens said that the widespread wind chills reaching the minus 40s across much of the state is rare.
Road conditions across South Dakota can change quickly as the weather develops, and roads in many area of the state may be slick with reduced visibility
Drivers can get an idea of what to expect on the South Dakota 511 website.
Interstate 90 from Rapid City to Chamberlain remains closed. At 5 p.m. Thursday, I-90 will close from Rapid City to Sioux Falls. A decision on Interstate 29 will be made later on Thursday, Smith said.
Smith also said there have been issues with the SD511 website due to high demand.
“We got a lot of people interested in what those conditions are out there,” Smith said.
KELOLAND producer Kullyn Meffert reported that several shelters have been opened for stranded drivers in New Underwood and Wall. Officials say some had to be rescued from roads between Wall and Rapid City last night. Officials believe everyone has been accounted for.
KELOLAND Weather online resources
As of 8 a.m. today there were lots of scattered ice and slippery spots on roads in southeastern South Dakota. No travel is advised in portions of central and western South Dakota as the SD DOT said the wind is blowing snow.
The snow and wind can even cause some areas of the roadway to look differently. The two photos below are at mile marker 157 on I-29, west of Brandt. They were taken just after 9:15 a.m.
The Minnesota 511 road map lists some roads in southwestern Minnesota with light snow on roadways. Interstate 90 east of the South Dakota border was listed as dry pavement as of 8 a.m. until farther east near Sherburne.
The Minnehaha County Courthouse and County Administration building will be closing at 3 p.m. today.
Most schools that were scheduled to be in session today are closed. Some, particularly in Minnesota, have e-learning days.
To check the latest closings see the KELOLAND Closeline page.
KELOLAND has 30 live cams across the state and in northwestern Iowa. Check out the live cams to get a look at conditions.
Wondering what conditions are like in your neck of the woods, you can check out our KELOLAND Live Cam page.