Office of Governor Kristi Noem

Sixty-three of South Dakota’s 66 counties submitted disaster declarations after this year’s devastating blizzards, floods, and tornadoes. In Governor Kristi Noem’s budget address for fiscal year 2021, she outlines a plan to recover from this year’s disasters and mitigate future damages. 

The governor’s budget proposal includes a partnership between state and local governments to manage the high cost of this year’s natural disasters. The state already offers some assistance, but Noem says local governments have expressed concerns in the face of record-breaking damages.  

National Weather Service

An area south of Interstate 90 in South Dakota is under a Winter Storm Warning for today and tomorrow, February 23rd and 24th.  The city of Sioux Falls is on the western edge of a Blizzard Warning.  SDPB's Gary Ellenbolt visits with Jen Hacker with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls about the storm that has entered the southwestern part of the state.

There are no Blizzard Warnings for West River, but heavy snow will make travel extremely difficult, according to John Chamberlain with the National Weather Service in Rapid City.

Christmas Day Storm Leaves Thousands Without Power

Dec 27, 2016
Jared Fosheim / South Dakota Department of Transportation

South Dakotans faced man sized snow drifts, icy roads, freezing temperatures and even some thunder and lightning on Christmas Day.
Governor Dennis Daugaard declared a state of emergency after a winter storm left motorists stranded and downed power lines.
Brenda Kleinjan with South Dakota Rural Electric Association says around 20,000 people were left without power. As of last night, Kleinjan says power has been restored to about 14,000.  

The South Dakota Department of Transportation has closed Interstate 90 from the Wyoming border to Rapid City Exit 55.  Another closure is in effect from I-90 Exit 67 near Ellsworth Air Force Base, to U-S Highway 83 near Vivian.  These closures are in both directions.  Another I-90 closure from Vivian to Chamberlain is imminent.  The western part of the state has been hammered by blizzard conditions most of the day, and a Blizzard Warning remains in effect for tonight into Monday.  Several No Travel Advisories have been posted for South Dakota as well.  Anyone finding it necessary to travel

First Winter Storm Of The Season Hits I-29 Corridor Hardest

Nov 18, 2016

The first winter storm of the season is tracking across South Dakota and into Minnesota.  

The storm brought a winter weather advisory to parts of the west, a winter storm warning in Sioux Falls and a blizzard warning to the northeast corner of the state.  

Traffic accidents and no travel advisories are delaying motorists. One accident left a semi-trailer blocking northbound traffic on I-29 near the Vermillion exit.

We all have stories to tell about the greatest blizzard on record … at least in the record of our own imaginations. For this week's Images of the Past, Bill Hoskins, director of the Siouxland Heritage Museumes, shares the story of the Blizzard of 1909 - forecasted via telegraph, traveled with the help of skis and bobsleds, and cleared with an early version of the snowblower.

National Weather Service

Southeast South Dakota residents are recovering from heavy snow and strong winds that basically shut down the region Tuesday.  SDPB's Gary Ellenbolt visits with Brad Temeyer with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls about the storm's aftermath, and what's ahead for the next few days.

National Weather Service

A massive winter storm is impacting much of the Midwest and Great Plains region today--South Dakota Public Broadcasting's Gary Ellenbolt visits with Sioux Falls meteorologist Jeff Chapman about what the storm is capable of.  Chapman first describes the day ahead in the Blizzard Warning area in southeast South Dakota.

FEMA Housing Lands On Pine Ridge Following Disaster

Dec 9, 2015
Christopher Mardorf / FEMA

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is placing new mobile homes on Pine Ridge following spring  storms and flooding that destroyed and damaged buildings in Oglala Lakota County.

The storms made the already severe housing shortage on Pine Ridge worse.

On Wednesday, December 9th FEMA is opening the doors on one of the first mobile homes to be replaced following the disaster declaration.

System Brings Western Blizzard, Eastern Tornadoes

May 10, 2015
Chynna Lockett / SDPB

A winter storm dumped up to a foot and a half of snow on parts of the Black Hills over the weekend.

The same weather system also spawned a tornado on the eastern side of the state that hit the town of Delmont.     

Jeff Johnson is the Lead Forecaster with the National Weather Service in Rapid City.   

He says both the snowstorm and tornadoes were tied to a very powerful low pressure system.


The Ranchers Relief Fund is disbursing its final funds to the ranchers and live stock producers recovering from last October's blizzard. That Storm took over forty-three thousand cattle from ranchers throughout western South Dakota. The state is getting closer to a full recovery.

The city of Sioux Falls is planning for snow fall around the six to eight inches mark. Galynn Huber is the Street Fleet Manager of Public Works for the City of Sioux Falls. He says there’s already crews prepared to tackle this winter storm. Huber says the clean up plan is a little different with this one, because of the warmer temps expected over the weekend.

The forecast calls for warmer temperatures near the weekend allowing for recent snow to melt.  Meteorologist Dave Hintz with the National Weather Service says he doesn't expect the snow to stick around too long.

Snow is falling in the western part of South Dakota but most of the east is clear. Dave Hintz (Hints) is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Aberdeen. He says the storm is moving slowly right now in Aberdeen, Watertown and Sioux Falls.

"What is going on is the low pressure system has slowed a little bit with its ejection coming out of Colorado-Nebraska and this has allowed more warm and dry air to kind of punch into the eastern part of South Dakota. So things are setting up a little slower then what we had previously thought they would be," Hintz says.

The fallout from a vicious October blizzard is rippling through the ranching industry. Feet of snow and cold temperatures in western South Dakota killed tens of thousands of cattle several months ago. Bob Mack with the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association says he suspects the actual number of livestock dead following the blizzard is considerably higher than the current official estimates.

Rancher Relief Fund Approaches Million Mark

Nov 15, 2013

The Rancher Relief Fund is closing in on one-million dollars in aid for livestock producers who suffered tremendous losses in the October blizzard.

The fund started with the help of various local groups, and is now beginning the process of distributing financial aid.   The group is accepting applications for assistance.

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray has this story on the effort to reach out to ranchers in need.

Numbers are still being reported for livestock lost in the early October blizzard in western South Dakota.  With about 14,000 cattle reported dead so far. Veterinarians are researching what happened and they're able to explain the cause of death for most livestock.

West River Ranchers are still sending in reports of dead cattle five weeks after the storm. State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven says many ranchers were caught by surprise. He says because this storm wasn’t normal, it caused unexpected devastation.

Storm Cleanup Costly For City And Schools

Nov 5, 2013

In Rapid City local leaders gathered this week to hear biannual addresses on the state of local governments.

The recovery effort following the blizzard that struck the area last month took up a big part of the discussion.

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray attended the address and found that federal disaster funding requested by Governor Dennis Daugaard is critical for local governments struggling with some major expenses.

Disaster, Shutdown, Sequester Leave Economic Inpact

Oct 23, 2013

Local business leaders in Rapid City say the regional economy is suffering a triple whammy.  

The major blizzard and the government shutdown came on top of the earlier sequestration that hurt nearby Ellsworth Air Force base.  

Linda Rabe is the President of the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce.   

Storms, Shutdown Hurt Tourism

Oct 11, 2013

The blizzard and government shutdown has had an huge impact on South Dakota ranchers and others struggling to recover after damage and widespread loss of livestock.
But, the bad weather and shuttering of National Parks has also been a double whammy for the state’s second largest industry--tourism.
Nort Johnson is with the South Dakota Badlands and Lakes Association.   It’s a large industry trade group in the Black Hills.   Johnson says with the closing of National Parks and the blizzard coverage in the national press--visitors are staying away.

Ranchers Cope With Huge Losses

Oct 10, 2013

The freak October blizzard that dumped more than four feet of snow has killed tens of thousands of cattle west of the river. Their carcasses are now tangled in barbed wire fences and emerging from the melting snowdrifts.

But the government shutdown means part of the safety net is gone; the programs normally operated by the USDA and other federal agencies to assist ranchers are shuttered.

South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s Charles Michael Ray caught up with a few ranchers while they were out in the field corralling the surviving animals.

Snowiest Year In South Dakota?

Oct 9, 2013

Preliminary calculations by climatologists show that 2013 is now in the running for the snowiest year on record in Rapid City. Although numbers are still being tallied, when combined with all the snow from last winter and this October storm, it adds up to just over 85 inches.

Massive Cattle Deaths Spur Rancher Relief Fund

Oct 9, 2013

A disaster relief fund has been set up for ranchers devastated by the major blizzard that just struck the Black Hills.    

Some livestock producers in Western South Dakota lost entire herds in the freak storm. 

The carcasses of thousands of cattle are now emerging from the melting snowdrifts.

Officials say the urgency is compounded by the lack of a farm bill  and the federal government shutdown and that has pulled one safety net out from under producers.

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray has this story.

Deep Snow Turns Into High Water

Oct 8, 2013

The Black Hills is seeing some higher than normal water in the creeks and rivers in the wake of the blizzard that hit the region over the weekend.
Experts say catastrophic flooding is not likely–but area waterways  are running very strong  sometimes at even higher flows than seen in the spring.  

The swift moving current can be dangerous.  Officials are warning the public to stay away from area streams until the snow melt subsides.

Click on the link below to hear more from SDPB's Charles Michael Ray and the forecast for rain.

The cleanup of this weekends blizzard in western South Dakota continues with efforts from multiple groups around the state. As cleanup continues there's good news and bad news.

The good news is the search for missing elk hunters in the black hills is being dismissed. Major Bruce Kipp with the Civil Air Patrol says there were two reports of missing hunters and planes went out searching in remote areas.  

Black Hills Still Digging Out After Blizzard

Oct 7, 2013

Western South Dakota suffered one of the worst blizzards ever recorded in the region over the weekend.   

Three days after the start of the storm -- tens of thousands are still without power, thousands more, especially in rural areas remain snowbound. 

Officials warn the public to stay away from the downed power lines.    They add that it will be Tuesday before many roads are opened-- the restoration of power may take much longer in some cases.  

SDPB's Charles Michael Ray has the latest.

Blizzard Buries Black Hills

Oct 5, 2013

Black Hills Residents are dealing with one of the worst snowstorms to hit the area in several years.

An Emergency Operations Center is now open as first responders and emergency managers work to begin disaster recovery.

Law enforcement has closed all roads in Rapid City until 6am on Sunday.   County roads are also under a similar closure.    Officials ask residents to stay indoors and shelter in place.   The weather remains treacherous.

Snow And Ice Storm Batters State

Apr 9, 2013

Much of western South Dakota is in the middle of a spring snowstorm.   Four to 12 inches have been reported across the area with the highest accumulations in the Northern Hills. 

Scott Rudge with the National Weather Service says besides snow this storm is also bringing unseasonably cold weather.

“Our temperatures won’t rise much more than what they are now.  Upper teens maybe so out here in Western South Dakota we’re looking at a lot of places setting some record low high temperatures today,” says Rudge. 

Weekend Winter Storm

Dec 10, 2012

Todd Heitkamp of the National Weather Service office in Sioux Falls joined Dakota Midday to talk about the winter storm that hit South Dakota over the weekend.  Heitkamp said that South Dakotans can expect a normal winter this year.