On Tuesday morning, Jerauld County residents awoke to a notion of spring.  The sun was bright, melting snow trickled down the streets and temperatures soared into the 40’s.  But looming over their consciences,  the intuition arrived that this gift from Mother Nature would be fleeting.

The forecast

Despite a much appreciated “spring teaser”, yet another winter storm warning is put into effect for the entire state of South Dakota. Portions of east central and south central South Dakota will see freezing rain or heavy rain, which could result in downed power lines and flooding. Overnight Wednesday into Thursday, central South Dakota can expect winds as high as 70 miles per hour, which will bring blowing and drifting snow and reduced visibility. Snow is expected throughout most of South Dakota by Thursday before finally ending that afternoon and evening. Up to two feet of snow could fall in some areas. 

South Dakota state government officials urge citizens to make preparations now, which includes adjusting travel plans. Wednesday and Thursday are expected to be heavy traffic days with many people attending state high school basketball tournaments starting Thursday in Aberdeen, Rapid City and Sioux Falls.

“There are still a lot of questions about the timing and direction of this storm, but for now we encourage people going anywhere in western South Dakota to be at their place of destination by Tuesday night,” State Department of Public Safety Secretary Craig Price says. “For those headed elsewhere in South Dakota, you should get to your destination by sometime Wednesday afternoon. The current forecast indicates travel will likely be very difficult by Thursday morning,” advises Price. Drivers are reminded to check safetravelusa.com/sd or call 5-1-1 before they begin their trip. 

At the same time, those staying at home are encouraged to make sure they have enough supplies on hand, including needed medication. 

Wise but weary

In the livestock world, while producers are weary, they continue to bed sheltered areas, scrape together more feed sources to keep their stock healthy and brace themselves for yet another week of little sleep and a heavy workload.  This storm preparation routine has become somewhat mundane for area ranchers who can only hope this extreme amount of cold spring rain can aide in snow removal from their facilities. As the number of newborn animals rise for area agriculturalists, barn space becomes limited and the “oldest” of the young are moved outside.  Scrupulous observation must be maintained during these harsh weather conditions to ensure they acclimate properly in such unforgiving circumstances.   

Local impact on propane usage

Kim Schultz, Operations Manger at propane wholesaler CHS in Wessington Springs, said that he has seen local consumption increase by 30 percent compared to this time last year.  Such extreme cold for an extended period of time forces area residents to continue to keep heat sources running.

While the idea of yet another dangerous winter storm is exhausting in itself, the extended forecast does reveal melting temperatures, offering the prospect of replacing snow boots with waders. In fact, the National Weatrher Service points to an increased chance of flooding this Spring. More on PAGE THREE IN PRINT EDITION OR E-ISSUE