PIERRE, S.D. (Press Release) – Officials are cautioning travelers that a winter storm currently making its way into South Dakota, will likely make travel difficult in the western and central parts of the state, especially the Black Hills, this afternoon through Tuesday.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a winter storm warning has been issued for the northern Black Hills with heavy snow and strong winds gusting from 45-55 mph.
Travel conditions are expected to become hazardous this afternoon and could possibly affect the evening commute. Motorists should be prepared for snow-packed and slippery roads, limited visibility and heavy drifting.
A winter weather advisory is in effect for the rest of western and central parts of the state. Varied snow accumulations of two to five inches and wind gusts up to 29 mph overnight could make travel conditions hazardous with icy roads and limited visibility as the system moves to the east.
Officials are encouraging motorists to move up travel plans to avoid travel during the storm system expected to last through Tuesday.
Motorists should visit https://www.safetravelusa.com/sd/, download the SDDOT 511 app or call 5-1-1 to check the latest road conditions and travel advisories before heading out. Sign up for ClearPath511 for closure notifications by text message or email.
Motorists are also reminded to give snowplows plenty of room to work and do not pass unless it is safe & you can see the road in front of the plow. The safest place is eight car lengths behind the plow, they are placing chemicals and clearing the road in front of you.
If you must travel, the departments of Transportation and Public Safety recommend travelers also take the following steps.
- Wear your seatbelt
- Travel during the day
- Drive with your headlights on (not daytime running lights) so you can be seen by other motorists from the front and rear
- Use highly traveled roads and highways
- Keep family and friends informed of your travel schedule and route
- Keep a winter weather survival kit in your car. The kit should include blankets, warm clothing, water, energy bars, a flashlight, a distress flag, a shovel and matches
- Travel with a charged cell phone, but don’t rely on it to get you out of a bad situation
- Call 5-1-1 or visit safetravelusa.com for road conditions
- Change travel plans as weather conditions warrant
If you do get stranded:
- Stay in your vehicle
- Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes an hour to stay warm
- When the engine is running, open a window slightly to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Periodically clearing snow from the exhaust pipe will also help prevent carbon monoxide buildup
- When it’s dark outside, turn on the interior light so rescuers can see you
- Put up a distress flag, or spread a large colored cloth on the ground to attract attention from rescuers