Storm Center PM Update – Tuesday, September 8: Winter Storm Discussion


Summer continues… even as winter churns to our northwest, waiting to pounce on KELOLAND later this week. With mostly sunny skies, temperatures are much above-normal across KELOLAND, in the upper 60s to low 70s. It is quite breezy, with south winds that have helped warm the air.

A Winter Storm Watch is already posted for western, central, and NE South Dakota. A Warning is already in effect for the Black Hills. These are the areas where we expect heavy snow and blowing snow Thursday, Friday, and even into Saturday. By heavy snow, we’re talking about six to 12 inches of very early season snow.

Tonight skies will be mostly clear, with a south wind keeping us mild. Lows will be in the low 50s East River, to the 40s West River where a few incoming clouds will pass through.

Tomorrow we’ll see some sunshine in the morning, with clouds increasing during the afternoon as that strong front approaches from the northwest. It will be one more very warm day East River, where temperatures will again be in the upper 60s to low 70s. Western South Dakota will see the winds switch to a northerly direction and pick up speed, so it will be sharply cooler, with highs in the 50s to low 60s.

Thursday will be cloudy, and windy, and wet and much colder. Highs will be in the 30s to low 40s, with the warmest temperatures in Sioux Falls and SE KELOLAND. Rain will mix with and change to snow in western and northern South Dakota, with a strong northerly wind that may cause travel problems. Sioux Falls and SE KELOLAND is likely to see more rain than snow, at least until Thursday night when temperatures drop below freezing.

Friday will be cloudy, windy, and snowy, and even colder. Temperatures will be below freezing in the morning, and barely above freezing in the afternoon. Snowfall will be heaviest in western, central, and NE South Dakota, and it could be wind-drive snowfall with strong northerly winds. Sioux Falls will be a little warmer with a rain/snow mix.

At this point, we still anticipate that the storm’s impacts will be greatest in western, central, and NE South Dakota – where we may even experience some blizzard-type conditions – as the storm spins to the northeast into Minnesota. That path would give Sioux Falls and SE KELOLAND more rain than snow – though the city could still get a couple inches under this scenario. But current projections still give Rapid City, Pierre, and Aberdeen 6-12” of snow – and even heavier amounts in eastern North Dakota for anyone thinking about travelling in that direction.

Saturday will still be mostly cloudy and windy with lingering snow showers – especially the first half of the day. Saturday’s highs will only be in the 30s to low 40s with that strong northerly wind. The most abundant sunshine will be found in Rapid and the west, after the storm system moves away to the northeast.

Sunday will be partly to mostly cloudy and breezy, though temperatures are expected to moderate somewhat. We’re going with highs in the upper 30s to mid 40s, though significant snow cover could have an impact on those temperatures.

Skies will be partly cloudy Monday and Tuesday, and with temperatures in the 40s to low 50s we expect to get to work on melting that snowfall. We expect that temperatures will experience a slow, gradual warming trend the rest of next week – though it looks like they will still be a little bit colder than normal for mid-October.

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