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Winter storm drops 4.2 inches of snow on Mitchell

The first winter storm of the season broke an unseasonably warm fall in South Dakota and has ushered in the potential for more snow in the near future.

In this photo composite shows a look down N. Main Street and the difference 24 hours make as the left side of the frame was taken Thursday morning and the right was taken Friday morning after the snow came down Thursday in Mitchell. (Photo composite by Matt Gade / Republic)
In this photo composite shows a look down N. Main Street and the difference 24 hours make as the left side of the frame was taken Thursday morning and the right was taken Friday morning after the snow came down Thursday in Mitchell. (Photo composite by Matt Gade / Republic)

The first winter storm of the season broke an unseasonably warm fall in South Dakota and has ushered in the potential for more snow in the near future.
Friday’s storm brought 4.2 inches of snow to Mitchell, according to the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, but Mitchell wasn’t the only town covered in white. There were 3 inches of snow observed west of Howard, more than 4 inches observed in Chamberlain and Tyndall and 5.6 inches in Burke.
Strong winds also picked up snow and decreased visibility in the area. According to NWS, the McCook County Sheriff’s Office advised no travel in the county Friday morning, as visibility fell to 50 feet.
McCook County also experienced power outages in Bridgewater and Canistota beginning at approximately 6 a.m. Friday. Emergency Manager Brad Stiefvater said Xcel Energy initially hoped to return power to Bridgewater by 3 p.m., but as of 5 p.m. Friday, Bridgewater was still without power, and Stiefvater said Xcel’s new estimate was 8 p.m.
“It ain’t real super cold, so people are staying warm one way or another,” Stiefvater said.
Power was also out throughout Hanson County in the towns of Alexandria, Emery and Fulton. Hanson County Sheriff Brandon Wingert said Xcel expected to return power to Alexandria by 6:30 p.m.
While 4 inches of snowfall is not unusual in November, NWS Meteorologist Billy Williams said the timing of the storm was most interesting, as it followed a period of warm weather.
“It’s a big change, but it’s not unusual,” Williams said. “It just doesn’t happen every day, but it happens often enough.”
For the first 17 days of November, the average temperature was 65.7 degrees, and the high dipped below 50 degrees once. On Friday, the high in Mitchell was 33 degrees.
NWS canceled the winter weather warning for much of the state Friday afternoon, but the South Dakota Department of Transportation still urged drivers to practice caution and postpone travel plans.
“Strong winds, snow and icy roads are making travel difficult, especially in the southeastern part of the state,” according to a press release from DOT. “Drivers are being asked to postpone travel plans until conditions improve. Poor visibility and strong, gusty winds have created hazardous travel conditions, especially for high-profile vehicles.”
The press release said numerous crashes and jackknifed trucks have created delays for snowplows. Road conditions can be found at safetravelusa.com, by calling 5-1-1 or on the SDDOT 511 app.
Pleasant temperatures are expected Saturday through Monday, with highs between 31 and 41 degrees in Mitchell, but Tuesday could already bring more precipitation in the form of either rain or snow.
“It’s starting to look like a pretty good system, but the question still remains on precipitation type and how warm or cold it’s going to be,” Williams said.
Williams expects the storm to bring a mixture of snow and rain, but if it brings colder weather than expected, the system has the potential to bring another 4 inches of snow with it.

A plow scoops the snow into the center of N. Main Street on Friday morning in downtown Mitchell. (Matt Gade / Republic)
A plow scoops the snow into the center of N. Main Street on Friday morning in downtown Mitchell. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Related Topics: WEATHER
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