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Two rounds of snow - one tonight, one Saturday

Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 9:17 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - We have a couple rounds of snow that are set to impact the area. The first one is moving in tonight through Thursday, and the second round moves in Saturday into Sunday morning. Heavy snow is expected for both systems and will likely create difficult travel conditions.

Snowfall tonight through Thursday

Winter Weather Advisories are in place for the majority of locations north of I-90. This is where the worst part of the storm will impact, dropping snow and creating slippery roads. The worst of the storm will be toward the Big Horns, where there is a Winter Storm Warning for Sheridan County. These warnings/advisories are issued until 6 p.m. Thursday, but could be cancelled early.

Rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow are all expected overnight. Rain showers will be in the southern plains, While some freezing drizzle and sleet are possible around Rapid City and then snow will fall over the northern plains. After midnight, much, if not all, precipitation will change over to snow and fall through the day Thursday. Temperatures tonight will range from the 20s to near freezing for many.

Snow showers will fall mostly Thursday morning, but isolated snow showers will continue into the afternoon hours. Accumulating snow is likely for many late tonight through Thursday afternoon. The heaviest snow totals will be in the northern hills, the Big Horns and up into the northern plains.

While snow totals will remain low here in Rapid City, it will be a windy day, with gusts up to 45 mph possible. With temperatures falling into the 20s through the day the strong winds will make it feel more like the teens, if not single digits at times. Be sure to dress warmly for the very cold air we have on tap. Snow showers taper off through the evening Thursday, leaving us with a calm day for Friday.

Snowfall Saturday through Sunday morning

Round two is set to impact the area on Saturday. Models are showing snow starting later in the day Saturday, compared to the morning hours as suggested earlier this week. Snow will begin after midnight Friday night for the far northern plains closer to the ND/SD state line and slowly slide southeast through the morning hours Saturday. That’ll push the heaviest snow to Saturday afternoon into the early overnight hours of Sunday. Winter weather alerts will likely be issued late during the day Thursday or into Friday morning.

Earlier this week, and even late last week, models suggested very high snow totals with this storm system. This is the case most of the time with models. Most of the time the snow totals will come back to reality as we get 2-4 days away from the event. This, along with the fact the storm track can change multiple times, is why I avoid showing snowfall totals so early. There is still some uncertainty with this storm system, so I will refrain from showing any snow totals in this post, but I might put out some numbers in tomorrow’s post if confidence increases.

Significant snowfall is still looking likely with this storm system. Today’s weather models displayed a northerly shift in the storm track, so as of right now, the heaviest snow looks to be more toward the northern plains, compared to the Black Hills/Rapid City area. We will still see accumulating snow in Rapid City from this storm, but it doesn’t look to be as significant as it once did. Models will likely change a couple more times in the next day or two, so uncertainty is expected to continue for another day or so. Once the storm system moves over land, we will have a better idea of the storm path and snow totals, once we can sample the amount of moisture and location of the storm, rather than making an educated assumption.

It will be breezy, but nothing too significant. This storm will not become a blizzard. I, along with the other meteorologists at KOTA/KEVN, will keep you updated with the very latest information as we get more model updates between now and Saturday. Keep checking the website, social media and watch the newscasts for the most up to date and accurate information.

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