STURGIS, S.D. – After a brutal morning, some hope for better weather descended upon the area, as Winter Storm Diaz began its slow trek eastward – and away from western South Dakota.
The storm that started Tuesday night evolved into a multi-day blizzard that has buried some areas under four feet of snow.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Dave Hintz in Rapid City says there has been comparison with this storm to Atlas from 2013 – although that storm hit in October when leaves were still on the trees and cattle was still on summer pasture.
Still, Hintz says for this storm to have a continuous blizzard warning for days ranks it right up there with other historical ones.
Regardless of where it ranks, communities in the Northern Hills have felt the wrath of Winter Storm Diaz.
In Sturgis, public works spent Friday busting through drifts several feet high. They have worked tirelessly since Tuesday trying to keep main arteries and snow routes open for emergency crews. After a pass through the residential areas on Thursday, overnight snow and wind drifted a lot of areas shut and work commenced on reopening those areas.
Rich Bush is the Sturgis Public Works Director discussed the problem.
As the storm pulls out, though, some bitter cold temperatures could be lurking on the horizon. Hintz says that will arrive before Christmas.
Heading into late next week, Hintz says wind chills may drop into the -20 to -40 range at times, which could cause frostbite in as little as 10 to 30 minutes.
Some snow totals from Winter Storm Diaz coming in from the National Weather Service include a 36-inch reading from Spearfish, 35 inches in Sturgis, 28 inches at Kadoka, 22 inches at Fairpoint and 16 inches in Wall.