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Interstates reopened after days of closures

Pennington Co. sheriff Dec. 16.jpg
Pennington County Sheriff's Office
A Pennington County deputy assist a stranded motorist on Dec. 16, 2022. Authorities have repeatedly asked people to avoid driving amid a massive winter storm.

All South Dakota interstate reopened Saturday following days of widespread closures due to a winter storm.


Authorities are cautioning against nonessential travel across most of South Dakota Friday as the state deals with a widespread winter storm now entering its fifth day.

The only areas not under a no travel advisory Friday morning are the southern Black Hills and the southeastern part of the state, according to the 511 road conditions map. However, roads in those areas are still listed as slippery and potentially ice-covered.

Interstate 90 remained closed from Mitchell to Wyoming while Interstate 29 is still closed from Watertown to North Dakota.

State officials have put repeated calls out asking people to avoid driving. The Highway Patrol and sheriff offices across the state have responded to numerous rescue calls. Authorities say these divert resources and delay road clearing efforts.

Many state offices are closed for the fourth straight day. Gov. Kristi Noem ordered offices in most counties closed Friday except for those in southeast South Dakota and the southern Black Hills.

The National Weather service expects wind and drifting snow to persist throughout the day Friday.

The winter weather system moved into the area Monday night, bringing snow in western and central South Dakota and freezing rain in the east. Intermittent snow continued statewide throughout the week. Strong winds resulted in days of blizzard-like conditions for hundreds of thousands.

Snowfall totals vary across the state, with some areas receiving eye-popping amounts over the course of the storm. The NWS snowfall report map showed several communities in the northern Black Hills and south central South Dakota receiving more than three feet of snow over the past 72 hours. The highest report is Cheyenne Crossing, near Deadwood, reporting 48 inches of snow since Tuesday. Reports from north central and northeastern parts of the state ranged from 10-20 inches. Eastern and southeastern South Dakota generally saw less six inches or less.

Both state and local plow crews have worked essentially nonstop since the storm hit the region. Snow alerts are in effect in several communities, including Brookings and Huron.

While the wind and snow are expected to dissipate over the weekend, NWS meteorologists said "dangerous" cold will follow the system early next week.

Weather resources

Josh Chilson is the news director at South Dakota Public Broadcasting. A Florence, S.D. native, Josh graduated with a journalism degree from South Dakota State University. He has worked as as a newspaper reporter and videographer, and most recently as managing editor for Dakota News Now. Josh is based out of SDPB's Sioux Falls studio.