What you need to know about this weekend’s potential snow

Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 4:35 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - There has been chatter about a winter storm impacting the central plains for about a week now. Through the week, models have shifted some of the snow up into the Nebraska panhandle and into western South Dakota. So what can we expect for this weekend? We’ll explain in detail below.

Winter Storm Watches and Winter Storm Warnings blanket much of eastern Wyoming and the panhandle of Nebraska down into Colorado. As of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, there are no active watches, advisories or warnings for us here in western South Dakota and northeast Wyoming. The uncertainty is too high to make a call right now. I do expect Winter Storm Watches to be issued at some point tonight or Friday morning for the counties along the Nebraska state line and into the southern Black Hills. Time will tell what gets issued.

Saturday is expected to start off Mostly cloudy for the morning. Skies will fill in and become overcast by midday and through the afternoon as rain and snow showers make their way into the area. Best chance to see those will be Saturday afternoon and evening. This precipitation should transition over to mostly snow Saturday night, Sunday and Sunday night. Snow will mostly accumulate Sunday and into Monday morning before the heaviest precipitation slides out of the area. Snow will be very wet and heavy, which will make it difficult to shovel. If you do see accumulations from this storm, it’ll be best to break out the snow blower or shovel multiple times.

Accumulations will vary depending on location. Best chance to see the highest snow totals will be the southern hills and southern plains, along the Nebraska state line. Significant accumulation is expected in these spots. Moderate snow accumulations are possible for the rest of the Black Hills and along I-90 in South Dakota. There is the potential for significant accumulations here depending on how far north the storm reaches. Lesser amounts are likely for those north of the interstate. The cutoff from significant accumulations to nothing will be drastic.

As for the wind, it will be a little breezy. Thankfully they will not be too strong and remain below blizzard criteria. No need to worry about any significant blowing and drifting of snow, though roads will be pretty treacherous either way.

Uncertainty is still pretty high with this storm system right now because the main chunk of the storm has yet to move ashore. That’ll happen overnight and allow weather stations and weather balloons to gather sufficient data on the storm system to help the models come into better agreement. Temperatures and storm track will play a large factor. If the air is too warm it will cause rain to stick around longer, but if it is cooler more snow could fall. Two of the longer range models have the track of the storm taking a more southerly route, which gives us lesser snow totals, but still measurable for many, but the other two models have it farther north, giving us much higher snow totals. The extra data collected tonight and tomorrow morning will give us a better idea of what to expect for the storm come this time Friday.

Stay tuned and keep checking in for the latest as data comes in. Another blog post will be written by late Friday afternoon - likely showing our initial snowfall forecast - giving totals for those who will see snow.

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