December 23, 2016
PIERRE, S.D. – Those traveling for Christmas are being urged to prepare for a holiday storm that could produce both rain and snow in parts of South Dakota.
Officials of the state Departments of Public Safety and Transportation have been tracking the Christmas Day storm for several days. A Blizzard Watch has already been issued for western South Dakota while a Winter Storm Watch has been issued for central and northeastern South Dakota. More advisories are possible.
Latest forecasts predict heavy snow, rain or freezing rain throughout the state from late Saturday night through mid-day Monday. High winds late Sunday into Monday, blowing snow and below zero wind chills also are expected.
“We still are not fully certain of the storm’s path and the precipitation amounts, but we are expecting a major storm,” says DPS Secretary Trevor Jones. “We are advising people who are traveling to make sure they reach their destination by Saturday night, Christmas Eve. It will be difficult or impossible to travel on Christmas Day and into Monday in the western, central and possibly northeastern parts of the state.”
DOT Secretary Darin Bergquist says snow plows will be on duty as needed. He says motorists should watch for changing road conditions and other factors like black ice.
“If you are going to travel this weekend, remember that winter driving conditions will exist,” he says. “Motorists are asked to reduce speed, turn off cruise control, wear your seat belt and leave extra space between you and other vehicles.”
Throughout the holiday weekend, the public is encouraged to watch for the latest weather forecasts. Before traveling, motorists should check road conditions at www.safetravelusa.com/sd or by dialing 5-1-1.
Travelers are also encouraged to sign up for ClearPath511 to receive text or email alerts for No Travel Advisories and road closures.