March 2-5, 1966

Aberdeen American News March 6, 1966 Headline

Aberdeen Weather Conditions Over The Four Day Period

  • Maximum Temperature: 36
  • Minimum Temperature: 7
  • Strongest Sustained Winds: 40 mph
  • Strongest Wind Gust: 51 mph
  • Snowfall: 18.5 inches
  • Freezing Rain: 0.05 inches
  • Lowest Visibility: 0 miles
  • LWSS Score: 5.76
  • LWSS Category: Extreme

A large winter storm system slowly tracked across South Dakota, starting the 2nd and ending on the 5th, leaving many areas in utter disarray.  The largest snow depth measured was 35 inches at Mobridge.  Strong winds of 40-55mph, with gusts to near 100mph, caused blowing snow, which reduced visibility to near-zero in some areas.  Snow drifts of 30 ft were reported in sheltered areas, while open fields lay nearly bare.  Livestock losses were heavy, including 50,000 cattle, 46,000 sheep, and 1,800 hogs.  The largest livestock losses took place in the central and north-central part of the state.  Heavy snow collapsed some structures and blocked many roads.  The blizzard was rated as one of the most severe the state of South Dakota had ever seen.

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November 27-28, 2005

November 29th, 2005 Headline

Aberdeen Weather Conditions Over The Two Day Period

  • Maximum Temperature: 29
  • Minimum Temperature: 15
  • Strongest Sustained Winds: 40 mph
  • Strongest Wind Gusts: 56 mph
  • Snowfall: 2.9 inches
  • Freezing Rain: 1.00 inches
  • Lowest Visibility: 0.25 miles
  • LWSS Score: 5.28
  • LWSS Category: Extreme

A significant winter storm visited the region on November 27-29, 2005, producing a wide range of wintry precipitation across the area. Snow and blizzard conditions occurred across central and north central South Dakota, while freezing rain and ice accumulations took front stage in northeast South Dakota and west central Minnesota. Across most of central and north central South Dakota, snow began in the late afternoon and early evening hours of the 27th, with significant snowfall accumulations occurring by the time the snow ended later in the day on the 28th. Snowfall accumulations ranged from as little as two inches to as much as 20 inches. Strong northwest winds of 30 to 50 mph, with gusts to 70 mph, caused widespread blizzard conditions from the early morning until the late afternoon hours of the 28th. Visibilities were reduced to zero many times across the area with snowdrifts of 5 to 10 feet in some places. Some power lines were also brought down in the Pierre and Fort Pierre area due to snow accumulation and high winds. Many roads, including Interstate 90, were closed due to the treacherous travel conditions. Several accidents occurred during the storm, and many motorists were also stranded. Several people had to be rescued. Schools, businesses, government offices, and many other organizations were closed. FEMA, state officials, and the governor surveyed the storm damage. Some of the significant snowfall amounts included 7 inches at Eureka, 8 inches at Onaka, 10 inches at Onida and Fort Thompson, 11 inches near Presho, 16 inches at Highmore, and 21 inches at Kennebec. To the east of this heavy snow and blizzard area, widespread freezing rain began during the morning to early afternoon of the 27th, creating significant ice accumulations of 1 to over 2 inches. The freezing rain changed to snow on the 28th, and northwest winds increased to 30 to 40 mph, gusting to 60 mph. The high winds and heavy ice accumulations caused several thousand power poles (some steel), along with several thousand miles of power lines, to come down, resulting in widespread power outages. The ice and winds also damaged several hundred miles of high-voltage power lines and towers. Some power substations were also shut down by the ice and wind. Thousands of trees were also either damaged or downed due to the heavy ice accumulations and the wind. Many of the fallen trees and branches caused damage to homes and vehicles. The radio station in Milbank went off the air due to its collapsing radio tower. Tens of thousands of people in many communities and rural areas were without power for several days, with some people without power for as long as two weeks. Telephone and cellular phone service was also down for several days. Countless schools, businesses, government offices, and other organizations were closed for several days. FEMA, state officials, and the governor also toured this damaged area, resulting in a presidential disaster declaration. Hundreds of utility workers from South Dakota, Minnesota, and nine other surrounding states worked 14- to 18-hour days in cold conditions to bring power back to the area. The National Guard also helped with getting generators, cots, blankets, and meals to storm shelters. Generators supplied power to many communities and rural areas, while others continued without power. Shelters were set up for those who did not have generator power or another place to go. There were also problems with livestock with the water supplies cut off for some time. One electric cooperative stated that repairs to the infrastructure would continue for months and years to restore a system that took decades to build. Roads were treacherous with many accidents and rollovers, some resulting in injuries. Due to the icy road conditions, many roads were closed, including Interstate 29. Around noon on the 27th, on US Highway 212 two miles west of Zell in Faulk County, a 59-year old man was killed when his car spun out of control and hit an oncoming pickup truck. Around 1:30pm on the 28th, on Day County Road One about two miles south of Waubay, a 17-year old girl was killed and three others were injured when one vehicle spun out of control and struck a truck in the oncoming lane. Air traffic was also brought to a halt across much of the area. This was one of the largest ice storms in the region's history. One electric cooperative said it was the most damage they had in their 65 years of existence. After the icing came snowfall of 2 to 12 inches, which combined with the high winds to bring blizzard conditions and low wind chills to northeast South Dakota and west central Minnesota from the morning of the 28th until the early morning of the 29th. Some of the significant snowfall amounts included 7 inches at Watertown, 8 inches at Waubay, 10 inches at Redfield, and 12 inches at Sisseton.

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November 22-26, 1993

November 25, 1993 Headline

Aberdeen Weather Conditions Over The Five Day Period

  • Maximum Temperature: 25
  • Minimum Temperature: 4
  • Strongest Sustained Winds: 26 mph
  • Strongest Wind Gusts: 32 mph
  • Snowfall: 24.7 inches
  • Freezing Rain: 0.00 inches
  • Lowest Visibility: 0.25 miles
  • LWSS Score: 4.97
  • LWSS Category: Crippling

A major slow-moving storm system traveled across the upper Midwest during the Thanksgiving holiday, dumping heavy snow across most of South Dakota and Minnesota from November 24 through the 27th. The heaviest amounts of two to three feet occurred in northeast South Dakota. Over a foot of snow accumulated in west central Minnesota, and needless to say, travel became extremely difficult across the entire area. Storm total snowfall amounts included 31.8 inches at Westport, 29.5 inches at Leola, 28 inches at Britton, 25.3 inches at Aberdeen, 24.3 inches at Mellette, 24.0 inches at McLaughlin, and 22.0 inches near Victor. The snowfall of 25.3 inches at Aberdeen was a single storm record (that still stands today), and it made November 1993 one of the snowiest months on record in Aberdeen with a total of 30.1 inches of snowfall (only three months have recorded more snow: November 1898, February 1915, and November 2000). The storm closed numerous schools and offices on November 24th across the area, resulting in an early start to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Some freezing rain and freezing drizzle preceded the snowstorm in southeast South Dakota from late on the 23rd to the 24th, causing at least 60 vehicle accidents. The heavy snow also clogged roads, causing vehicles to become stuck and resulting in numerous accidents. As a result of the heavy snow, low wind chills, and low visibilities, a 23-year old man was stranded in his pickup truck in a snow bank north of Aberdeen for 18 hours on the 23rd and 24th. The weight of snow collapsed numerous structures in northeast South Dakota from the 25th to the 26th. The roof of a metal bard collapsed two miles northwest of Aberdeen, killing one dairy cow in the barn. In Castlewood, a 100-foot by 40-foot metal pole shed fell in, causing damage to a grain truck inside. A machine shed also caved in on a farm east of Bowdle. During the afternoon of the 26th, part of the roof and wall of the Roscoe Senior Center collapsed, causing a near-total loss to the building. Strong northwest winds followed the snowstorm in western and central South Dakota, causing considerable blowing and drifting snow and wind chills as low as 50 degrees below zero. In North Dakota, over two feet of snow fell over a large part of central and southeastern portions of the state. Most of North Dakota had over a foot of snow from this storm. The greatest snowfall amount was reported at Oakes, in Dickey County where 31 inches fell. At the National Weather Service office in Bismarck, 28.3 inches of snow were measures during the 108 hour snow event. This amount set a new single storm record for snow in Bismarck. The snow began the evening on the 22nd and did not end until the morning of the 27th. Except for about six hours during the day on the 26th, the snow was continuous through this period. Fortunately, the wind was only 10 to 25 mph during this storm, so it was well below blizzard conditions and blowing and drifting of snow was not a problem.

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March 22-24, 1975

March 24, 1975 Headline

Aberdeen Weather Conditions Over The Three Day Period

  • Maximum Temperature: 42
  • Minimum Temperature: 15
  • Strongest Sustained Winds: 39 mph
  • Strongest Wind Gusts: 53 mph
  • Snowfall: 13.8 inches
  • Freezing Rain: 0.00 inches
  • Lowest Visibility: 0 miles
  • LWSS Score: 4.84
  • LWSS Category: Crippling

The first of two early spring storms began as light rain in some sections in the north on Saturday evening. Thunderstorms, with some rain which quickly changed to snow, were accompanied by strong winds and created blizzard conditions in the west early Sunday. This early spring storm spread rapidly across the state reaching the eastern sections by evening. Blizzard conditions continued over all the state during Sunday night and most of Monday. In many areas, wind speeds gusted to greater than 60 mph and visibility was often reduced to near zero. Because of poor visibility and drifting snow, all travel became hazardous. Many schools and businesses were closed on Monday. During this storm, the temperatures were generally in the twenties. Snow amounts were quite varied ranging from 4 to 5 inches in the southwest to 12 to 18 inches in the central portion. Some locations in the Black Hills received an addition 2 to 3 feet of snow. Calving and lambing were occurring during this storm. Losses between this storm and the later storm of March 26-28 were estimated at twelve to fifteen thousand calves and cows, five to seven thousand sheep and fifteen hundred to two thousand hogs.

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January 3-4, 1997

January 6, 1997 Headline

Aberdeen Weather Conditions Over The Two Day Period

  • Maximum Temperature: 31
  • Minimum Temperature: 12
  • Strongest Sustained Winds: 31 mph
  • Strongest Wind Gusts: 41 mph
  • Snowfall: 12.8 inches
  • Freezing Rain: 0.05 inches
  • Lowest Visibility: 0 miles
  • LWSS Score: 4.80
  • LWSS Category: Crippling

A powerful area of low pressure and deep Arctic high pressure brought almost all winter elements to central and northeast South Dakota as well as west central Minnesota from the afternoon of the 3rd to the morning of the 5th. The storm first began with widespread freezing rain, especially over northeast South Dakota and west central Minnesota, where significant accumulations of ice occurred on roads, trees, and power lines. Late in the evening of the 3rd, the freezing rain changed to sleet and then snow, with substantial snowfall accumulations of 6 to as much as 27 inches by late on the 4th. As the deep Arctic high pressure pushed in through the morning and afternoon of the 4th, northwest winds increased to 25 to 45 mph gusting to 55 mph creating widespread blizzard conditions, drifts up to 20 feet, and wind chills from 40 to 70 below. The heavy accumulation of ice and snow across parts of central and mainly across northeast South Dakota resulted in the roof collapse of over 150, mainly rural, buildings. The roofs collapsed onto farm machinery and livestock with a lot of the machinery damaged and a lot of livestock injured or killed. The collapse of so many buildings from snow and ice was believed to be the first in this area. On most other buildings, the snow had to be shoveled or blown off. One man was killed in west central Minnesota as he was trying to shovel snow off the roof of a building. One roof collapse near Lake Poinsett, 7 west of Estelline, killed four horses, damaged a boat, and flattened a car. A few homes during the storm were buried by the huge snow drifts. Many power outages also occurred across parts of central and northeast South Dakota as power lines and poles were downed from the heavy ice accumulation. Some people were without power for several days in the extreme cold conditions. The cities of Miranda, Rockham, Zell, Garden City, Bryant, Vienna, Glenham, Hazel as well as other cities were without power for many hours. Some of the communities were out of power for up to 2 days. In Aberdeen, heavy snow blocking a furnace exhaust vent, sent 3 family members to the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, in Aberdeen, the snowmobile club, the drift busters, were called upon for the first time in several years to deliver medicine, take patients to the hospital, and carry essential workers to work and home. Emergencies were difficult to respond to, taking many hours to short distances. Throughout central and northeast South Dakota, many businesses and grocery stores were closed. Interstates 29 and 90 were both closed for a few days along with most state highways. The rest of the roads were either blocked by huge drifts or had one-lane traffic. Snow plows were called off the roads until conditions improved and when they did start to clear the roads, they worked 12 to 18 hour days. Many vehicles went into the ditch, with mainly minor injuries. Some people had to be rescued. Travelers and truckers were stranded for several days until the roads opened. When Interstate-29 was opened, there was a log jam of vehicles for 3 miles. One Watertown policeman said he has never seen a log jam as bad as this in 28 years. Area airports were closed or flights were canceled or delayed. The mail was delayed for several days, most activities were canceled or postponed, and many schools closed on the 6th. The heavy snowfall from this storm brought the widespread snowpack up to 2 to 5 feet. For the winter season so far, the area had record snowfall and record cold. Some of the snowfall amounts include, 6 inches at Mclaughlin, 8 inches 22 SSW Keldron and 4 NW Onida, 9 inches at Pollock, Timber Lake, Highmore, Mobridge, and Kennebec, 10 inches at Castlewood, Clear Lake, Miller, Fort Thompson, and Clark. Snowfall amounts of 1 to over 2 feet include, 12 inches at Eureka, and Redfield, 13 inches at Selby and Aberdeen, 14 inches at Pierre and Roscoe, 15 inches at Ortonville MN,16 inches at Mellette and Browns Valley, MN 18 inches at Faulkton and 1 ENE Stephan, 20 inches at Webster, 22 inches at Britton, 24 inches at Sisseton, 26 inches 10 NW Britton, and 27 inches at Wheaton.

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