MINNEHAHA COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) — Chris Knutson can not only see the drifts from behind the wheel of his state snowplow; he can feel them, too.

“I hit these drifts, and my backend slides around a little bit,” Knutson said.

He says that wind and the resulting drifts have proven challenging with this storm. Plus, there was a lot of snow already here before even one flake fell this week. There aren’t many places to toss the latest round of snow, and the snow that was here first is quite settled.

“Thawed and frozen again, and it’s rock-hard,” Knutson said. “You can’t push anything against it.”

As of Thursday night, all South Dakota interstates were open. Craig Smith, director of operations with the South Dakota DOT, told KELOLAND News shortly before noon on Thursday that road conditions had certainly improved.

“Definitely getting better than it was last night and early this morning,” Smith said. “The wind’s kind of dying down out west, and the snow’s moved out, so giving our guys out there an opportunity to get some clean-up done.”

State highways, he says, saw notable drifting.

“Just like the interstates, they had significant drifting, and it takes time,” Smith said. “We need not just our plows: sometimes we need blowers and other equipment out there to get some of those heavier drifts.”

“A lot of the traffic tries to take these secondary roads,” Knutson said. “They don’t realize how bad it is.”