The first major winter storm of the season is not expected to land a direct blow on the Yankton area, but its impact could be felt for days to come.
The storm is forecast to bring blizzard conditions to western South Dakota, with a wintry mix expected in a ban stretching down the middle of the state. Eastern South Dakota and eastern Nebraska are expected to see mostly rain from the storm, which has been dubbed Winter Storm Aubrey by The Weather Channel.
However, after the Yankton area saw the mercury climb into the mid-70s Wednesday, plunging temps and strong winds could make for miserable conditions across the region, especially today (Thursday) and Friday.
The Associated Press reported that winter storm watches and warnings stretched from eastern Washington state to Minnesota, along with freeze warnings as far south as Colorado and Nebraska.
Temperatures in Yankton are expected to fall throughout the day today, tumbling down to the low 30s by nightfall. There’s a 50 percent chance of light rain and snow showers, with some freezing precipitation possible later in the evening.
But the biggest impact will come from the wind, which is expected to shift to the northwest and be at 20-30 miles per hour, with gusts up to 40 miles per hour, by the afternoon.
More light precipitation is expected Friday, with temperatures climbing only into the mid-30s. Winds will be westerly at 20-35 miles per hour.
Breezy conditions are anticipated to continue Saturday, but with clearing skies. Highs are forecast for the mid-40s.
In fact, temperatures in the Yankton area are expected to remain far below normal into the middle of next week, with the mercury struggling to get into the low 50s during that time period.
Low temperatures over the weekend are expected to slip into the upper 20s, which could damage some plants and possibly threaten to put an end to the agricultural growing season, depending on the duration.
To the west, the storm is expected to drop 6-12 inches of snow, coupled with high winds. In a press release Wednesday, the AccuWeather weather service labeled the storm an “all-out blizzard,” with up to 30 inches of snow possible in central and eastern North Dakota as the storm stalls and then re-strengthens.
The wintry forecast prompted the South Dakota High School Activities Association on Wednesday to push the next round of high school soccer playoffs statewide from Saturday to Monday.