STURGIS, S.D. – As people remember Winter Storm Atlas that tore through the region six years ago, a potent winter storm that could bring heavy, wet snow is poised to strike Wednesday night into Thursday.
Forecasters say a strong cold front and upper level system will cross the region Wednesday, bringing unseasonably cold temperatures, snowfall and gusty winds to much of the area.
After a warm day Tuesday, the cold front will move through Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, with steady or slowly falling temperatures on Wednesday.
Precipitation will develop across northeast Wyoming and far northwest South Dakota by Wednesday afternoon, slowly shifting east into western South Dakota Wednesday evening. Precipitation will change over to all snow overnight Wednesday and could become heavy at times into Thursday, especially across the Black Hills area and the plains to the north and east.
Lingering snowfall is likely Thursday night, especially for the Black Hills. Gusty northerly winds will produce some blowing snow, especially across the plains.
Seven to fifteen inches of snow is a possibility over the northern hills, including Sturgis and Spearfish, to northeast Wyoming. Five to ten inches is likely along the plains north and east of the hills. Three to nine inches could fall to the south.
Hazardous travel is expected if the storm stays on track.
Forecasters say there is still some uncertainty on the exact track and timing of the storm, but residents are being encouraged to take precautions now.