First winter storm of the season to drop snow, rain … a lot of it

Mike Tanner, KWATOctober 12, 2021Agriculture News

RAPID CITY, S.D.–Higher elevations of the Black Hills will give residents and travelers the first taste of winter weather tonight into Wednesday.

Melissa Smith, NWS, Rapid City, SD

“Were looking at our first heavy snow fall of the season,” says Melissa Smith, a forecaster at the National Weather Service office in Rapid City. “For much of the Black Hills and far western South Dakota, right along the Wyoming border, is where the heaviest snow is going to fall -besides in the Black Hills. In the Lead/Deadwood area, we’re looking for snowfall amounts of over 12 inches.”

Smith says not only will the snow pile up in places like Lead, Deadwood, Hill City, and Nemo, but very strong winds will create blowing snow making travel difficult.

“The other factor that will play into this storm are wind gusts of at least 50 miles an hour.  Across the western South Dakota plains, those wind gusts will be starting late tonight or early Wednesday morning.”

Areas of the Black Hills that don’t get snow can expect quite a bit of rain, says Smith.

“As you get to the adjacent plains in the Rapid City area and those sorts of locations outside of the Black Hills, we’re looking at a lot of very heavy rainfall with amounts of 2-3 inches, especially from Spearfish down to the Rapid City area.”

If you think it’s a little early in the season for winter weather out west, Smith says, “not really.”

“Often we’ll see our first snow of the season sometimes even in September. Last year it was Labor Day weekend. So holding off until the beginning of October this year is actually pretty nice.”

A Winter Storm Warning has been posted for higher elevations of the Black Hills from 3 p.m. today until 6 p.m. Wednesday.