PENNINGTON COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) — The blowing snow and dangerously cold wind chills are making any kind of travel VERY difficult today across KELOLAND. Well over a hundred people were stranded in Western South Dakota after a blizzard hit the area.
The high winds and blowing snow have led to nearly white-out conditions just outside of Rapid City.
After multiple crashes and cars getting stuck, the interstate was shutdown. Which led to many people being stranded.
“Extreme cold weather like we are having, vehicles are just not working once they are at an idle. So people don’t have food, they don’t have water, they don’t have blankets, they don’t have clothing. So at that point it becomes emergent and we are having to make those rescues,” Lt. David Switzer, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, said.
The Pennington County Sheriff’s Office says law enforcement is currently helping people stranded in New Underwood and Wall get here to Rapid City.
“It’s not just one agency out there taking the lead and getting things done, this is a complete cooperative effort between numerous first responder agencies and emergency management,” Lt. Switzer said.
The Highway Patrol says this is why it’s so important to be prepared during winter in South Dakota.
“If the road is no travel advised, impassable or even closed, change your plans. Now is the time to start thinking about changing those plans,” Col. Rick Miller, South Dakota Highway Patrol Superintendent, said.
Road conditions are still dangerous on the interstate, law enforcement urges everyone to stay home if they don’t have to go anywhere.
“We don’t want to keep you home, that is not our goal. When you close an interstate or road is impassable, it’s not fun for anyone, it’s just really important to keep you safe,” Col. Miller said.
One Pennington County deputy is being treated for frostbite on his face. Law enforcement also urges everyone to pay attention to the warnings and advisories in effect all over South Dakota. You can stay updated on changing winter conditions with our KELOLAND weather app.