Early March Blizzard Causes Paralyzing Conditions in South Dakota
About 450 miles of interstate highway was closed on Monday in South Dakota in response to terrible driving conditions caused by a major winter storm.
Late Monday afternoon the South Dakota Department of Public Safety and the South Dakota Department of Transportation suspended winter maintenance on a good portion of the interstate system. Additional snowfall and strong winds precipitated the closure of Interstate 90 in both lanes west of Sioux Falls to Mitchell around 5:30 PM. That was in addition to a stretch of I-90 from Mitchell west to Murdo at 8:30 AM on Monday.
The next domino to fall was Interstate 29 from the North Dakota border to the Iowa border which subsequently closed at 6:30 PM. Snowfall amounts expected to range from 4 to 6 inches in the Sioux Falls area to up near 8 to 12 inches in areas near Chamberlain. Along the way sustained winds ranged from 20 to 25 miles per hour across eastern South Dakota with gusts in excess of 40 miles per hour at Mitchell and Yankton where Blizzard Warnings remain in place until 6:00 PM Tuesday evening.
The Sioux Falls School District saw the writing on the wall and decided to cancel all afterschool activities for Monday.
Southwest South Dakota seemed to be the only place with a sense of normalcy as roads from the northwest corner down to the southeast were generally a status of no travel advised.
Once the storm passes, calmer conditions are expected to arrive Wednesday and above freezing temperatures were forecast for Friday.