PIERRE, S.D. – State Transportation and Public Safety officials are urging South Dakota citizens to avoid non-emergency travel from late Saturday night through early Monday morning as a major winter storm impacts much of the state.
The National Weather Service says heavy snow and strong wind will create blizzard-like conditions that will spread across a broad section of South Dakota during the overnight hours Saturday and through the day and night on Sunday. Conditions are forecast to gradually improve from west to east during the day on Monday.
Transportation officials say some highways will become snow packed and slippery, and bands of heavy snow pushed by winds of 20 mph to 40 mph could create conditions of near-zero visibility at times. Conditions may deteriorate rapidly, and residents should pay close attention to weather and road-condition reports. The passing storm could force temporary closures of stretches of the interstate highway system and make other highways all but impassable at times.
“While the brunt of the storm is impacting a particular area of the state, travel could be impossible,’’ said DOT Secretary Darin Bergquist. “If it isn’t an emergency, it isn’t worth the risk. Please use good sense and stay home until the storm has passed.’’
Anyone who absolutely must travel for emergency reasons should be aware of rapidly changing conditions. Officials also encourage motorists to visit http://www.safetravelusa.com/sd/ or call 511 to check the latest road conditions and travel advisories even if the worst of the storm appears to have passed their location.