Winter Storm drops heavy snow on Black Hills, much needed rain on plains

Gary MatthewsOctober 13, 2021Local
courtesy SD511 Traffic CamerasI-90 near Sturgis was in much better shape late Wednesday afternoon as a potent storm system began to move out of the area.

STURGIS, S.D. – A winter storm that moved through the area brought some very beneficial moisture – but also some travel and power problems to the Black Hills and surrounding foothills.

While most of the plain’s area outside of the hills have seen 1 to 3 inches of rain, more than a foot of snow has fallen in parts of the Black Hills and surrounding foothills.

In Sturgis, preliminary reports of up to 15 inches of snow have been reported and no travel was advised for most of the day. An estimated 17 inches of snow has been reported in Whitewood and in St Onge, snow totals of 18 inches have been reported. Deadwood reported between 20 and 22 inches.

The heavy snow was a burden on power lines and trees. In St Onge, there are 2-3 foot drifts, broken tree limbs, and closed roadways. That is much the case in other communities, including Sturgis, where thundersnow and a major power outage came as the snow began falling heavily Tuesday afternoon.

In Sturgis, city crews have been plowing most of the day, trying to keep up with the snow, and when the winds picked up, it made it even more tenuous. In hopes of keeping people from getting stuck and hampering the snow removal effort, most northern hills’ communities issued no travel advisories.

The snow is causing some power problems as well.

Black Hills Power had some widespread power outages yesterday and they continued with some spotty outages today.

The utility says they were out in full swing this morning restoring power to customers that experienced power outages across the Black Hills region due to yesterday’s heavy snow and high winds. The restoration efforts are identified in small areas within the Black Hills communities of Rapid City, Lead, Deadwood, Spearfish, Sturgis, Custer, Hill City and Pactola area.

Black Hills Energy’s operation team worked throughout yesterday, restoring service to approximately 775 customers. Today, the operations team will further inspect power line infrastructure and continue restoring services throughout the day as the storm continues to pass through the Black Hills region.

I-90 between Rapid City and the Wyoming line was shut down late Tuesday night and reopened at 2:00 this afternoon. Motorists, however, were being cautioned to remember winter driving conditions still exist. Crews continue to plow and apply chemical.