Blizzard Conditions With Strong Winds, Brutal Cold On Deck For Area

Yankton street crews work on clearing snow along Fourth St. Friday afternoon. Yankton received 3.5 inches of snow.

With Mother Nature delivering the first blow, prepare yourself for Round Two of the storm today (Saturday).

A major system moved late Thursday night and Friday into the Great Plains, including the Yankton region. The front brought heavy snowfall, sub-zero temperatures and icy conditions.

As of Friday afternoon, the National Weather Service (NWS) reported 3.5 inches of snow at its official recording station in Yankton.

A non-travel emergency occurred Friday during the storm. Utica mayor Cherie Hoffman posted a notice that, because of a large water main break, town officials were shutting off the water to the water tower immediately.

“We have no estimates at this point on repairs,” she told residents. “Fill up what you can for water now while we have it.”

A winter storm warning Friday was upgraded to a blizzard warning for worsening conditions through this afternoon (Saturday).

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued the following notices for southeastern South Dakota and portions of northeast Nebraska:

• A blizzard warning remains in effect from 9 p.m. Friday to 3 p.m. Saturday for Bon Homme, Charles Mix, Douglas, Hutchinson and Yankton counties.

• A winter storm warning remained in effect until midnight Friday, followed by a blizzard warning from midnight to 6 p.m. Saturday for Clay, Dakota, Dixon, Lincoln, Turner and Union counties.

The NWS advised travelers to plan on slippery road conditions. Areas of blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility. The cold wind chills as low as 20 below zero could cause frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, north-central and northeast Nebraska are among the areas bracing for high winds.

• A high wind warning remains in effect from 2-8 p.m. today for a large portion of Nebraska, including Antelope, Cedar, Knox, Madison, Pierce and Wayne counties.

The NWS advised that damaging winds may blow down trees and power lines.

“Blowing snow may cause brief periods of whiteout conditions,” the NWS said. “Power outages are possible. Travel will be difficult, especially for high-profile vehicles.”

Today’s forecast for Yankton calls for a 20 percent chance of snow and blowing snow, with a high of 10 degrees and an overnight low of -5 degrees.

The bitterly cold temperatures will continue Sunday, with a forecast high of 1 degree and an overnight low of -11 degrees.

Monday’s forecast calls for a high of 5 degrees and a low of -1 degree. Warmer temperatures arrive Tuesday, with a forecast high of 30 degrees.

The prediction for the rest of the week calls for a high of 37 degrees Wednesday, 33 degrees Thursday and 27 degrees Friday.

The NWS forecasts a 30 percent chance of snow Thursday.

Snowfall amounts varied around the region during the first full day of the current storm.

The NWS reports Friday afternoon showed the largest amounts of 7 inches in southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa, along with Rowena east of Sioux Falls along the Iowa border.

The NWS report included the following area totals: Lennox and Ponca, Nebraska, 5.5 inches each; South Sioux City, Nebraska, 4.5 inches; two miles east of Concord, Nebraska, 4 inches; one mile south of Armour, 3.8 inches; Tyndall 3.7 inches; one mile south-southeast of Vermillion, 3.6 inches; Neligh, Nebraska, 3.5 inches; Pierce, Nebraska, 3.4 inches; seven miles south of Verdel, Nebraska, and Tripp, 2 inches each.

Other regional readings included 6.2 inches in the Sioux Falls area, 5 inches one mile north of Sioux City, and 2.5 inches at both Mitchell and three miles northeast of Norfolk, Nebraska.

As of 7 p.m. Friday, Interstate 90 was closed, east and westbound, between Mitchell and Sioux Falls. Interstate 29 was closed, north and southbound, between Sioux Falls and the North Dakota border.

A “No Travel” advisory was also advised for U.S. Highway 81 between the Highway 42 intersection at Stanley Corner and 9 miles north of Salem.

Authorities were advising absolutely no travel except emergencies for most of eastern South Dakota. A Department of Transportation (DOT) tweet noted two plows had been rear-ended by passenger vehicles.

The Turner County Sheriff’s Office in Parker sent out a warning Friday.

“Snow has continued to accumulate on county roads and visibility is still very poor. Please stay put unless it is absolutely necessary or an emergency,” the post said.

The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) issued a warning Friday that snow and wind have already made travel conditions hazardous in many locations. Heavy drifting is expected with winds gusting as high as 55 miles per hour (mph).

The SDDOT plows are limited in the number of hours they will be working on snow removal, the advisory noted.

“Travelers are reminded that SDDOT crews will plow until early evening hours as conditions allow and it is safe for the drivers. After that, winter maintenance will be suspended and will resume about 5 a.m. the next morning, weather permitting,” the post said.

“With the significant forecasted snow totals and high winds, it will take some time for crews to get roads clear and open again. If an interstate is closed, do not assume other highways are in any better condition.”

For large numbers of students, teachers and government employees, Friday’s weather closures created a three-day weekend — and in many cases, a four-day weekend with the Martin Luther King holiday on Monday.

Mount Marty College closed its Yankton campus Friday. With the MLK observance, classes will resume and offices re-open Tuesday.

The Summit Activities Center and Yankton Community Library closed early Friday. A number of schools and courthouses announced their closures already Thursday night in anticipation of the storm.

The Yankton School District cancelled Friday classes.

The arrival of the storm system, and the anticipated blizzard conditions today, created uncertainty surrounding two weekend sporting events — the rivalry basketball games between the University of South Dakota and South Dakota State University.

The original schedule called for the women’s game Saturday and the men’s game Sunday, both in Vermillion. Besides the rivalry status, both games hold major implications for the Summit League regular-season championship and seeding in the conference tourney that decides a berth in the NCAA post-season tournament.

On Friday, USD Athletic Director David Herbster announced the two games will be played in a Sunday doubleheader inside the Sanford Coyote Sports Center in Vermillion. The women tip off at 1 p.m., followed by the men’s game at 3:30 p.m.

The men’s teams were already scheduled for a 3:30 p.m. start. Both games will be televised live on MidcoSN.

What if you hold a ticket for only one of the two games or don’t have a ticket and still want to attend the games?

Herbster outlined the procedure for handling the switch to a doubleheader originally sold as single tickets for two separate games.

USD season ticket holders and those who have purchased tickets for both games will still be able to claim the seats listed on their tickets.

Those wishing to purchase tickets for Sunday’s games can go online at GoYotes.com or call the USD ticket office at (605) 677-5959 from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday and starting at 11 a.m. Sunday.

In another announcement, USD’s dual swim meet with Iowa Central Community College scheduled for Saturday has been cancelled.

• The Press & Dakotan operated under an early press deadline Friday, and the Saturday edition will be delivered if it is deemed safe for the carriers to do so. If your paper is coming to you in the mail, you will most likely receive Saturday (due to weather), Monday (due to federal holiday) and Tuesday newspapers all on Tuesday. The Press & Dakotan’s online E-Edition will be available for free on Saturday at www.yankton.net.

Follow @RDockendorf on Twitter.

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