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A passing motorist helps another driver free his car from a snowbank in Deadwood Tuesday afternoon.
courtesy of SDDOT
A passing motorist helps another driver free his car from a snowbank in Deadwood Tuesday afternoon.
Winter Storm brings Northern Hills area to a standstill
Gary Matthews - November 29, 2016

STURGIS, S.D. - The latest winter storm’s wrath was felt the hardest in the northern Black Hills Tuesday – where roads and schools were closed and gusty winds led to heavy drifting of snow. In Sturgis, rescue crews were summoned to several accidents on I-90 early Tuesday afternoon. Conditions were terrible – with blowing snow, ice covered roads and visibility near zero in places. The South Dakota Department of Public Safety decided to shut down I-90 between Spearfish and Rapid City due to at least one multiple vehicle accident and several other one-vehicle incidents. It was reopened between Exit 44 and 55 Tuesday evening. The Department says the Exit 10 to Exit 44 segment of Interstate will remain closed until conditions improve and crews are able to clear the roadway. Kristi Sandal is with the South Dakota DOT. She says timing of the interstate reopening depends on the weather… “The National Weather Service has said that wind and blowing snow—strong winds overnight—so we’re anticipating the closure to last overnight and then it just depends what it looks like at daylight," Sandal says. "We really don’t know. They are saying that the strong winds will continue throughout the day on Wednesday. So, we really have no way of knowing. We’ll send the crews out when it’s safe for them to be out. And then we will reopen the road when it’s safe for drivers." Snow and strong winds are not expected to die down until later in the day on Wednesday and it will take time to clear the roadway. Officials are also cautioning drivers in other areas of the state that strong winds of 30-40 mph and gusts up to 50 mph are making travel extremely difficult, especially for semi-trucks and other high profile vehicles. Winter maintenance has been suspended in some areas where it is too dangerous for the plows to be on the roadway. Operations will resume once it is safe to do so. Trying to figure out snow totals was difficult because of the wind. Snow drifts ranged from several inches to several feet. The Lead area has reported up to 24 inches of snow, with drifts up to 8-feet. Up to 26 inches of snow has been reported outside of Brownsville in Lawrence County. In Sturgis, around 6 to 7-inches of snow has been reported. Heavy drifting is also being reported with drifts of 3-6 feet being tallied. Travel is difficult in Sturgis, and law enforcement has a No Travel Advisory in effect.



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