NORTHERN HILLS — It was a Thanksgiving weekend blizzard for the ages.
Areas of the Northern Black Hills received from one-half a foot to two-and-one-half feet of snow. That combined with wind gusts from 30 to nearly 60 mph made for impossible travel and snow drifts from three- to five-feet tall.
Sunday was spent with neighbors helping neighbors dig out from the mountains of snow. Public works crews in communities throughout the Black Hills hit the streets Sunday to clear the snow.
The National Weather Service warned of the impending storm early last week issuing a winter storm warning for the Black Hills and blizzard warning for most areas in western South Dakota.
“You hope that when you put out the word that people are listening and decide to stay home,” said Scott Rudge, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Rapid City.
Northeast Wyoming and southwest South Dakota received most of their snow Friday evening. Due to the wind direction, areas around and south of Custer only received 3-6 inches of snow.
The brunt of the snowfall in the central and northern Black Hills and areas to the north fell Saturday mid-day and into the evening.
“When the northeast upslope winds kicked in, we got most of our snow,” Rudge said.
Then as the storm moved off to the east, the Northern Hills got the wrap around snow from the north.
Many areas in western South Dakota reported sustained winds of 30-40 mph during the day on Saturday. The highest gust from the storm, 59 mph, was reported in Rapid City about 1:40 a.m. Saturday. Also, 50 mph gusts were reported at Ellsworth Air Force Base, Scenic, and Reva in the afternoon and early evening on Saturday.
Also Saturday, approximately 1,600 Black Hills Energy customers in the Black Hawk area were without power for around two hours.
The city of Spearfish issued a no travel advisory on Saturday because of the heavy snow and strong winds. The city later issued a no travel allowed directive within the community.
Because of the heavy snow and winds, the South Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT) closed Interstate 90 at 11 p.m. Friday from the Wyoming state line to Chamberlain. The interstate reopened about 8:15 a.m. Sunday from the Wyoming line to Rapid City. Then, at about 10 a.m. the interstate was reopened from Rapid City to Chamberlain.
For Monday, DOT officials warn that roadways across the state are ice covered, snow-packed, and slippery. Due to 40-plus mph winds across the state, there is heavy drifting, especially at bridge ends and in sheltered areas.
Motorists travelling are asked to use extreme caution, take your time, avoid distractions, wear your seatbelt, keep the cruise off, be prepared for changing conditions, and allow extra space between you and the car in front of you.
DOT snowplow crews are out working and motorists are reminded that plows travel at 25 mph or less and to stay eight car lengths behind the plow to allow ample stopping time on icy roadways. Never pass in a snow cloud and the safest place is behind the plow, they are clearing the road in front of you.
Rudge said there is no severe weather predicted for the coming week. Highs should be in the mid 30s to low 40s.
Spearfish and Meade school districts had a two-hour late start Monday.
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