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Accumulating snow and even colder air on tap

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 4:26 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - It has been incredibly cold recently. Low temperatures nearing -20° in some spots with wind chills closer to -40° at times. High temperatures have struggled to reach the single digits with a few lucky spots seeing double digits… above zero.

Snow showers are expected to increase this evening and overnight and continue at times Thursday. Accumulations are expected with this first round of snow. A couple of inches look to be possible, but a second round will slide through Thursday night and continue Friday. This will be the better chance at seeing some accumulations for much of the area. A few inches could fall here.

Snow totals over a two day span.
Snow totals over a two day span.

All of this snow will not fall overnight. This map is from tonight through Friday evening. These snow totals are over a two-day span. The best chance for snow showers will fall in southwest South Dakota, along and south of I-90. An inch or two of snow will be possible by Thursday morning, which will make roads slippery. Thankfully the snow will be light and fluffy so removing it will be rather easy. You could even use a leaf blower instead of a shovel.

The second round of snow will arrive Thursday afternoon and continue through Friday. A few inches of snow will be possible in spots, which will make roads slippery Friday and into the day Saturday. Once again, this will be very light and fluffy snow to remove. It will be very cold Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so if you do remove the snow, be sure to dress appropriately, because with temperatures as cold as they will be, frostbite could occur in 10-20 minutes.

Coldest air to move in Thursday -Sunday
Coldest air to move in Thursday -Sunday

Cold air will arrive Thursday and temperatures continue to get colder Friday and Saturday. Highs Thursday could potentially not even reach 0°. Friday, Saturday and Sunday will have highs that stay below zero. We’re looking to go at least 72 hours or longer of temperatures below zero.

While a Wind Chill Advisory is in effect for the entire area through 11 a.m. Monday, I wouldn’t be surprised if a Wind Chill Warning was issued at some point this weekend for much of the area, given the numbers on the map above. It is very possible wind chill values could fall down to -40° or colder over the weekend. This could result in frostbite occurring in under 10 minutes.

Dangerously cold wind chills this weekend might warrant a wind chill warning.
Dangerously cold wind chills this weekend might warrant a wind chill warning.

The biggest thing to do when it is cold is to limit your time outdoors. If you must spend time outside, you should cover all exposed skin as possible to prevent frostbite. Hats, gloves, scarves, face coverings, long underwear, etc. are all things to wear to help stay warm and prevent frostbite.

Be sure to keep your fluids as close to full as possible in your vehicle, to make it as difficult as possible from freezing. Keeping your gas tank at least half full, unless you are traveling a long distance, keep your take as close to full as you can.

With the snow falling and the frigid air that we will have to end the week, it will be wise to prepare a winter survival kit and put it in your car. In case you slide off the road or get into an accident, it would be wise to have one if your car will not start, you run out of gas, or it takes a little while for responders to get to you.

Some items you should keep in your winter survival kit include flashlights, batteries, phone charger, blankets, snacks, water, hat/gloves, boots, first aid kit, ice scraper, jumper cables, a road flare and more. A candle, lighter and aluminum coffee tin would help make for a great source of heat if you run out of gas. Cat litter is helpful if you get stuck to provide traction to tires instead of spinning and making it even more difficult to get out.

Stay safe and stay warm! There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Highs return to above zero Monday and we could have 20s by the middle of next week and maybe even 30s by the end of next week. Fingers crossed!

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