Pileups closed Interstates 90 & 29 on Thursday
By Carson Walker
Separate crashes involving multiple vehicles hampered traffic on both major interstates in the Sioux Falls area Thursday afternoon during a blizzard.
An accident involving more than 20 vehicles on Interstate 90 near Humboldt blocked the westbound lanes of the road for several hours between Sioux Falls and Salem. Authorities also cleared a series of crashes on Interstate 29 near Tea that involved as many as a dozen vehicles.
There were some injuries but no fatalities in the accidents.
Driving conditions were still treacherous late Thursday with snowpacked and slippery roads and blowing snow creating low visibility situations, authorities said.
Travel was not advised across much of eastern South Dakota due to slick roads and poor visibility, including in Sioux Falls where schools let out early. Numerous other events were also canceled.
Bands of snow were to continue into Thursday evening, said Todd Heitkamp, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls.
Less than 3 inches of snow fell in Sioux Falls by early evening, but winds of 35 mph or higher still created whiteout conditions, the agency said.
A 63 mph gust was recorded before sunrise. “The snowfall developed about 30 miles farther west than what we expected. We knew the wind was going to be an issue, but it shows you when you get a little bit of snow how treacherous it can get when you have winds this strong,” Heitkamp said.
A blizzard warning was in effect for northeast and east-central South Dakota and a high wind warning was out for the central and southeast through Thursday evening. The weather also presented a challenge for town leaders in Madison trying to fix a water shortage in the community of 6,500 people caused by the collapse of a roof over a city water tank.
“It’s snowing and it’s blowing,” Mayor Roy Lindsay said. “It’s not a heavy snow, so we’re able to work in it, but it is cold, and it is windy.”