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Weekend Storm Will Create Difficult Driving Conditions in Western and Central South Dakota

For Immediate Release: Saturday, February 17, 2018

Contact: Kristi Sandal, Public Information Officer, 605-773-3265


PIERRE, S.D.Officials are cautioning travelers that a winter storm making its way into South Dakota on Sunday, Feb. 18, will bring heavy snowfall and high winds with gusts 35 mph or more across the western and central part of the state.


The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for parts of western and central South Dakota. This strong storm system will impact the region starting Sunday morning into Monday. It will bring heavy snow, strong winds and below zero temperatures creating difficult driving conditions with significant reductions in visibility.


Officials are encouraging motorists to move up travel plans to avoid driving in the affected areas Sunday afternoon and Monday. A map of the affected area and projected snowfall totals can be found here: http://www.weather.gov/unr/.


Motorists should visit www.safetravelusa.com/sd or call 511 to check the latest road conditions and travel advisories before heading out. There is also an app available for Android and iOS devices. Sign up for ClearPath511 for closure notifications by text message or email.


Travelers are reminded that SDDOT crews will plow until early evening hours as conditions allow. After that, winter maintenance will be suspended and will resume about 5 a.m. the next morning, weather permitting.


People who must travel in affected areas of South Dakota are advised to slow down and drive with extreme caution.


If you must travel, the departments of Transportation and Public Safety recommend travelers also take the following steps.

  • Wear your seatbelt
  • Travel during the day
  • Drive with your headlights on (not daytime running lights) so you can be seen by other motorists from the front and rear
  • Don’t use cruise control on icy or snow-covered roads
  • Use highly traveled roads and highways
  • Keep family and friends informed of your travel schedule and route
  • Call 511 or visit safetravelusa.com for road conditions
  • Keep a winter weather survival kit in your car.  The kit should include blankets, warm clothing, water, energy bars, a flashlight, a distress flag, a shovel and matches
  • Travel with a charged cell phone, but don’t rely on it to get you out of a bad situation

§    Change travel plans as weather conditions warrant


If you do get stranded:

§    Stay in your vehicle

  • Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes an hour to stay warm
  • When the engine is running, open a window slightly to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.  Periodically clearing snow from the exhaust pipe will also help prevent carbon monoxide buildup
  • When it’s dark outside, turn on the interior light so rescuers can see you
  • Put up a distress flag, or spread a large colored cloth on the ground to attract attention from rescuers


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