RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - As we have been talking about for a few days now, a significant winter storm is set to impact the area Friday through Sunday morning. This storm will feature many hazards, from fog to sleet and freezing rain, then heavy snow and very strong winds.
We will start off Friday morning with widespread fog. Where temperatures are below freezing, you may encounter freezing fog. As the day progresses, a wintry mix of sleet, freezing drizzle and light snow will begin to fall.
The transition from wintry mix to snow is expected Friday evening and the rate of snow will intensify quickly. As of Wednesday afternoon, a Winter Storm Watch is in effect for all of western South Dakota and into northeast Wyoming. A Winter Storm Warning is in effect for Sheridan County in Wyoming and Carter County in Montana. Winds are expected to increase as well with gusts Friday night up to 45 mph. During the intensification of the storm, you may experience thundersnow.
Heavy snow will continue Saturday along with the wind. Gusts will reach 60 mph or higher, which will create widespread blizzard conditions across western South Dakota. Travel will likely be impossible for many during this time period. For a storm to be classified as a blizzard, it doesn't matter how much snow you get. The criteria calls for sustained winds of 35 mph or higher and a visibility of 1/4 mile or less for at least three consecutive hours.
Snow totals of 6"+ are likely for the majority of us, while a foot or more of snow is likely for the northern Black Hills in South Dakota and Wyoming. A snow total graphic has been attached to the bottom of the article. These numbers will likely change over the next 36-48 hours. The strong winds will cause significant drifting snow, where some drifts will exceed 3 feet.
We will continue to fine tune the details of this storm as it gets closer. Keep checking social media, the website and the weather app for updates over the next couple of days.