Significant winter storm coming together for the weekend
We've been keeping a pretty close eye on a storm system churning through the northern Pacific, which is expected to impact the area Friday afternoon through Saturday night.
There has been consistency in data showing significant snow from this storm across Montana, Wyoming, South/North Dakota and Minnesota. There are Winter Storm Watches out already for parts of Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota as of Tuesday afternoon.
Locally, the Winter Storm Watch goes from 6 p.m. Friday through 6 a.m. Sunday. Precipitation may start off Friday afternoon as a mix of rain/freezing rain/sleet and snow before transitioning over to all snow by Friday evening. Heavy snow is expected Friday night through Saturday, before tapering off Saturday evening and overnight.
Along with the heavy snow, very strong winds are expected to impact the area. Sustained winds between 35-45 mph are expected as gusts could reach, or even exceed 60 mph. This would create blizzard like conditions Friday night through Saturday. For a storm to be classified as a blizzard, there needs to be sustained winds of 35 mph or higher and visibility a 1/4 mile or less for 3+ consecutive hours.
The wind will cause significant blowing and drifting snow for many and make travel nearly impossible Friday night through much of Saturday. A widespread 6"+ of snow is likely for many with even some seeing a foot or more of snow, especially in the northern Black Hills and other isolated locations.
We will continue to monitor this storm closely as we get closer to the weekend. Keep a close eye on social media, the website and the weather app for updates over the next few days.