Six months ago western South Dakota got slammed by rain and then a blizzard of epic proportions. The rain and then snow led to the loss of tens of thousands of livestock and caused widespread power outages. Today, people throughout the region are still recovering.
Fifteen hours of rain began at noon Thursday October third followed by more than 36 hours of snow totaling 23.1 inches in Rapid City. The drifts were much higher.
Power outages began by the morning of the 4th. West River Electric reported that all 12,000 of their clients lost power at some point during blizzard. Black Hills Power reported 42,000 without power, and it took them 12 days to return all electricity.
Damage from downed trees, cleanup efforts and other blizzard associated expenditures cost Pennington County nearly a half a million dollars, 85 percent will be covered by FEMA. In Rapid City, the bill was more than $1 million dollars. FEMA is covering 85 percent and the state is also pitching in.
Perhaps the most devastating aspect of the storm, the estimated 40,000 plus livestock killed.
The actual reported loss is around 24,000, however ranchers asking for help from the Ranchers Relief Fund report losses at nearly double that.
The School of Mines will hold a panel discussion exploring the aftermath of the October blizzard. That discussion will be Tuesday, April 8th in the Classroom Building, room 204 from 6 until 8 in the evening.