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Blizzard blasts western South Dakota

November 6, 2008

Blizzard blasts western South Dakota
Associated Press


High wind pushed tons of early November snow into huge drifts in portions of western South Dakota as a blizzard continued an eastern trek on Thursday.

A National Weather Service observer reported 38.5 inches of snow just northeast of Deadwood in the Black Hills.

“It’s a raging blizzard out there,” said Jeff Schild, a meteorologist with the NWS office in Rapid City.

The snow came down – sideways might be a better description – at a rate of 3 inches an hour overnight. It’s slacked off to 1-2 inches an hour, Schild said late Thursday morning.

“It’s still rolling here. It’s still going on,” he said. Wind gusts of 60 mph were still being reported late Thursday morning.

More than 100 schools and businesses were closed in the region, according to a Rapid City television Web site.

Interstate 90 was closed from Murdo west to the Wyoming state line.

Other portions of Lawrence County, reported almost 2 feet of snow by midmorning Thursday.

Spearfish reported 12.5 inches of snow and drifts 6 feet high on Thursday.

In Shannon County, in the southwestern corner of the state, 20-foot snowdrifts were reported on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation early Thursday.

As for electricity, the Nebraska Public Power District said a power line running in northwest Nebraska failed late Wednesday, cutting power to Pine Ridge. Repairs have begun.

In the tiny Butte County town of Hoover, a National Weather Service observer said it was the worst blizzard she’s seen in her 32 years in the village. Six-foot drifts were blocking doorways, the observer said.

The blizzard was moving east Thursday, and safety officials predict treacherous road and weather conditions would hit the central and eastern portions of the state, prompting more road closures.

In Rapid City, streets are clogged with drifts and police report cars getting stuck all over town. Mayor Alan Hanks said that even some police vehicles were victims of the snowdrifts.

  • All state offices in the Black Hills area were closed Thursday.


Reporting points near Rapid City checked in with 8 inches of snow by the middle of the morning. And downtown Rapid City reported a 78-mph wind gust late Wednesday.

Capt. Kevin Karley of the South Dakota Highway Patrol said Rapid City is socked in. “If this storm continues at its current pace, the same conditions can be anticipated across almost the entire state.”