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Week of Rain & Snow In Review

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The past few days have certainly been active when it comes to weather for many of us while it was quiet for many others. This week started out above average with high temperatures somewhere about 10 degrees above average and lows running somewhat above average as well. Though it isn’t unusual to fluctuate several degrees above and below average, it made forecasting this week’s weather somewhat challenging.

First of all, with high temperatures creeping above the freezing mark of 32; snow was able to begin melting. Of course, this isn’t an instantaneous process as temperatures must also stay above freezing for a significant amount of time. However, any additional ground surfaces exposed due to this snow melt made room for even more warming. Each day, we found ourselves adjusting our temperatures based on how much snow had already melted.

On top of that, a new system was approaching our region and we had to take cloud cover and precipitation into account. Obviously, temperatures aren’t the only thing we forecast each day; but this week’s scenario clearly shows how much detail goes into our forecasts. Of course, with temperatures above the freezing, not only at the surface but throughout a large portion of the atmosphere; our precipitation started out as rainfall.

However, our next system came in just behind it with a great deal of colder air behind it, a plentiful amount of moisture, and strong winds to create near blizzard conditions across the western half of the state and much of North Dakota. By Saturday morning, while most locations east of the Missouri River stayed dry after the first storm, some of our westernmost locations picked up a little extra snowfall. Here’s a look at snowfall totals as of Saturday morning. A little extra snow did fall throughout the day on Saturday, but it was very light and didn’t lead to any additional accumulation as it tapered off to the east.

The colder air that spilled in behind this system did, however, make for some difficult travel across much of the region even with little snowfall on the roadways. As slick roadways left behind after Thursday’s rainfall froze over on some roadways, it made travel just a bit trickier than anyone would have liked. Here’s a look at some of SDDOT’s highway snapshots across the region showing road conditions once the worst of the weather had passed.

Here’s a nice shot of the US 212 bridge over a frozen Lake Oahe on the Missouri River near Forest City between Pierre and Mobridge. Forest City was one of these locations that picked up measurable snowfall with this Friday’s system.

As temperatures dropped below freezing, this highway snapshot along US 212 near Miranda captured rainwater that had frozen over blocking our view of road conditions.

A thin layer of ice appears to be covered with a dusting of snow Saturday night in some spots along I-29 near Summit in Grant County.

Although it is difficult to see, patchy ice was observed along I-90 near Mitchell through much of Saturday as colder temperatures froze the slick roadways after the previous rainfall.

Road conditions along I-29 appeared much better across the southeast in places like Dell Rapids.

As for this week, we are monitoring a couple of systems that look to be passing closeby, but at this point; we are not expecting any additional snowfall over the next seven days. Temperatures do look to gradually warm as we go into the middle of the week, but not quite as warm as we did this past week. Here’s a quick look at our 7-Day forecast as of Saturday evening for a sneak peak.

Of course, models tend to trend in different directions as each day unfolds, and we will be monitoring them closely. Stay tuned to KDLT and KDLT.com for the very latest.
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