Ranchers Prepare For Impending Storm


A beautiful day in central and western South Dakota that is deceptively mild: 60 degrees and shirt sleeves. But that’s one of the factors that makes this storm so dangerous.

The mild weather means the temperature drop will be even more dramatic — and more dangerous — especially for cattle.  

That has ranchers working to gather cattle into locations where they might be able to survive the storm. Tanner Rabway and Rick Fox have been through this before.  

“There’s some windbreaks, and we’ll probably have to get some in the corral and bed them down and use some calf shelters, I guess,” Rabway said.

“Get them in the right spot on your place and behind some windbreaks or some sheltered areas, anyway, and ride it out,” Fox said.

Fox and Rabway remember the infamous blizzard of October 2013. The storm began with rain that soaked the livestock, followed by rapidly dropping temperatures and high winds. The sudden changes killed thousands of cattle.   

The ice and heavy snow from that storm is also on the minds of city governments. In Rapid City, street crews may pro-actively begin spreading gravel and chemicals even before the snow begins.

“The thought process is that we will probably drop the chemical material onto the road surfaces. We’ll be focusing on the bridges, the hills, the main lines, the emergency routes,”  Darrell Shoemaker, city spokesperson, said.

Emergency managers are also warning anyone who plans to be on the roads.

“But really, we’ve just recommending, don’t travel if you don’t have to.  And if you do decide to travel, make sure you have an emergency kit in your car and you’ve done some pre-planning,”  Deputy Manager Alexa White with Pennington County Emergency Management said. 

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