Monday, March 23, 2009

Northern Great Plains Blizzard

Eastern Wyoming and Western South Dakota are getting hammered by a late season spring blizzard tonight. In the Black Hills, up to 40 inches (102cm) of snow with winds up to 70mph (112kph) are hitting the area. The most amazing thing about this blizzard (and this is why I love watching the weather so much) is that just 24 hours ago, temperatures across the area were in the upper 77F to 83F range (25c to 28c)! In fact, here is a YouTube video someone uploaded of the local forecast from the Weather Channel.
Interstate 90 has been shutdown from Chamberlain, South Dakota all the way to the South Dakota - Wyoming state line due to white out conditions.

Authorities have issued travel bans which brought police patrols off the streets. The police are saying that only life threatening emergencies will send officers out into the storm. Even the US Postal Service stopped mail delivery fearing for the safety of the mail carriers on the streets of Rapid City and the rural roads of western South Dakota. Snow plows have even been called in because their efforts to keep the roads clear are futile. The Red Cross has dropped off sleeping bags at gas stations located near Interstate 90 exits for use by stranded travelers.

On the other side of the storm, spring like warmth and thunderstorms have rumbled across eastern South Dakota. The map below shows that at 11pm, the temperature in western South Dakota is 22F (-7C) and 55F (+13C) in the eastern part of the state!

This same storm system will be bringing a cold front across Indiana Tuesday night, but we won't have the extreme weather. That's unfortunate.

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