Storm brings moisture to drought-stricken SDThe low pressure storm system first brought rain Saturday before yielding to snow in the early morning hours Sunday.
By: Chris Huber, The Daily Republic
The largest storm this winter blew into the area late Saturday night and by early Sunday morning blanketed most of the state in the white stuff, bringing moisture to drought-stricken South Dakota.
The low pressure storm system first brought rain Saturday before yielding to snow in the early morning hours Sunday.
When Mitchell residents woke up Sunday about 5 inches of snow had already fallen according to the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls. In total, as much as 8 inches of snow were expected to fall in Mitchell by Monday morning. Heavier snow of more than a foot was reported in some parts of northern South Dakota.
“Following the band of snowfall (Sunday) morning we have seen anywhere from 5 inches to 8 inches in that area for totals on Sunday,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Jeff Chapman said.
The heavy snow Sunday wasn’t all bad news however. The high moisture content in the snow helped an area that desperately needs moisture.
“There was quite a bit of moisture with this storm and some of our automated equipment was getting at much as 1 inch of moisture in the snow,” Chapman said. “That is actually a pretty significant amount and should help the area.”
As temperatures began to fall Sunday, Chapman said the snow became much lighter and began to blow.
“As the colder air comes in behind this storm that is something that will create a lot finer snow and it will be a lot easier to blow around and cause visibility issues,” he said.
The storm prompted the National Weather Service to put much of South Dakota in a blizzard warning throughout the day.
As Sunday progressed, winds began to pick up with gusts reaching 40 mph, creating tough travel conditions for much of the state.
The storm was bad enough to close Interstate 90 Sunday between Wall and Sioux Falls where slippery roads and heavy drifting with near-zero visibility made travel in that area very difficult. Interstate 29 was also closed from Sioux Falls to Fargo, N.D., on Sunday and officials urged travelers to postpone trips across the state until conditions improved.
Despite tough conditions, multiple sheriff’s offices reported cars slipping off the road and into ditches but no major accidents were reported.
While there was snow and wind on Sunday, air temperatures stayed pretty mild for much of the day and the high reached 33 in Mitchell.
For today, a slight chance of more snow is expected before noon and strong winds are expected to continue. Wind from the northwest will blow between 20 and 25 mph with gusts reaching 40 mph at times. For Tuesday, the weather is expected to clear and the high will reach 30.