Much of South Dakota could see snow from next week’s winter storm
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - If you’re not a fan of wintry weather, be sure to enjoy the warmer weather we will have this weekend. A powerful storm system looks to impact much of the northern plains late Monday through Wednesday night.
The level of uncertainty with this storm remains high. The core of the system is still spinning in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, more than 2,000 miles away from the west coast and 3,000 miles from the Black Hills. There will be a better handle on the storm by Sunday, when it moves on shore and allows weather balloons and sensors to collect data. This will give the forecast models a better idea on the path of the storm and the intensity.
Right now, the storm looks to impact western South Dakota and northeast Wyoming Monday afternoon and evening. A Winter Storm watch is in effect beginning at 11 p.m. Monday and goes through 5 a.m. Thursday. The storm could begin with a light wintry mix, especially on the South Dakota plains. Snow showers will take over Monday night and into the day Tuesday.
The heaviest snow is likely from midday Tuesday through Wednesday morning. This is likely when the majority of snowfall occurs. Snow showers will continue Wednesday and Wednesday night as the storm system slowly pulls away. As the storm passes by, wind speeds are going to increase greatly. From Tuesday to Wednesday, wind gusts could reach 50 mph or even higher at times. Gusts to 45 mph will be likely Thursday.
This will create significant travel disruptions as blowing and drifting snow will make it very difficult for crews to keep roads cleared of snow. While it is difficult to predict when and where roads will have no travel advised, or even shut down, I would expect many area roads to reach those levels at some point during the storm. If you have any travel plans next week, you will want to make some changes.
The greatest impacts will likely be from northeast Wyoming into the northern Black Hills and the South Dakota plains, as listed above. Significant snowfall of 6″ or higher looks to be likely in these spots with some areas picking up more than a foot of snow.
The southern hills and east-central Wyoming look to deal with lesser impacts from the storm. Even though snow totals aren’t expected to be as high in these spots, accumulations will be high enough where you’ll likely need the snow shovel and possibly a snow blower. Slippery roads are expcted here, too.
There does remain an area of uncertainty due to the potential for dry-slotting. What that means is dry air gets pulled in by the storm and doesn’t allow for snow to reach the ground, resulting in lower snow totals. What’s difficult about a dry slot is the unknown of how long it will stay put. The longer it is here the less snow that accumulates. This will be something that becomes more clear as we get closer to Sunday and Monday.
Until then, be sure to keep checking back for updates on our social media and during the newscasts. Download the KOTA Mobile Weather app, where you can get push alerts for watches, warnings, advisories and more. Our team of meteorologists publish multiple videos a day focusing on the forecast where you live. Track snow on the interactive radar and get updates on the hour-by-hour forecast.
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