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Please, snow more! Record-setting blizzard hits Mitchell area hard

Keith Crago, of Mitchell, cleans out his driveway with his tractor Saturday. (Luke Hagen / Republic)1 / 2
Snow was piled in a center windrow on Main Street following a blizzard blew through Mitchell on Saturday, dropping more than a foot of snow on the city. (Luke Hagen / Republic)2 / 2

Snowfall in Mitchell this weekend broke a 111-year-old record.

According to the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, Saturday’s snowfall of 12.5 inches was the snowiest April day in Mitchell since 12 inches fell on April 27, 1907.

Mitchell saw a two-day storm total of 16.2 inches of snow, also setting a new record for the city.  

Blizzard conditions including heavy, wet snowfall, 60 mph wind gusts, freezing rain, and sleet blasted a good portion of the state Friday and Saturday. Interstates 90 and 29 were closed all Saturday and reopened early Sunday morning.

And more snow is on its way.

Meteorologist Kerry Hanko of the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls said the area can expect another winter weather system to move in Tuesday night.

“It’ll start out with rain or freezing rain, and then transition over to snow late Tuesday night and into Wednesday,” Hanko said. “Right now, it’s a little difficult to give exact amounts, but there’s a good chance we’re looking at a decent amount of accumulation, about 3 inches in the area. It’s certainly not as bad as what we just saw.”

Hanko said the temperatures aren’t looking to warm up next week either.

“We’re still going to be well below normal for this time of year,” she said. “Typically, we see 50 to 60 degrees, but it’ll be nothing like that. We’ll see highs in the upper 30s or lower 40s through the upcoming week.”

The lower temperatures will allow for a slower melt, thus preventing major flooding concerns, she added.

Mitchell also saw record-breaking lowest high temperature for April on Saturday of 29 degrees, 2 degrees cooler than the lowest high of 31 recorded in 1983, according to the National Weather Service. The 3.7 inches of snow received in Mitchell Friday also broke the record for April 13 all-time, which was 2 inches received in 1905 and in 1970.

Around the area, 22 inches of snow was reported in Winner as of 3 p.m. Sunday, with 15.6 inches reported in Huron, 14.1 inches in Burke, along with 16.5 inches in Kennebec, according to the NWS. Some drifts in city limits were higher than three feet, and piles on Main Street were over six feet tall after plows started rolling Saturday.

The city of Mitchell began digging out from the storm Saturday evening and through Sunday. No travel was advised throughout the area through Saturday night and into Sunday morning.

The South Dakota Department of Transportation opened Interstate 90 from Chamberlain to Mitchell on Sunday at 8 a.m. I-90 from Mitchell to Sioux Falls and I-29 from Sioux Falls to Watertown opened at 9 a.m.

Driving conditions on many roads are still sloppy with scattered snow cover, slushy spots and slick roads, according to the South Dakota Department of Transportation.

In Mitchell, snow plow crews made progress by clearing streets and roadways. Plowing of snow emergency routes was continuous and clearing of east-west streets in the city began at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Street parking in all parts of the city is subject to ticketing and towing. District A downtown snow removal was set to begin at 11 p.m. Sunday.

Wind gusts were measured at 60 mph at the Mitchell Municipal Airport shortly before 5 p.m. Friday and the wind continued to lead the heavy snow. Gusts were reported between 40 and 55 mph throughout Friday night and early Saturday morning.  

Power outages were reported in Woonsocket and Scotland, but Northwestern Energy restored customers’ power by Saturday. There were also 120 Rosebud Electric Cooperative consumers without power over the weekend in Gregory County and another 140 customers of the Charles Mix Electric Association without power in Charles Mix County.

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