March, 26-28, 1975

Pierre Weather Conditions For The Three Day Period

  • Maximum Temperature: 30
  • Minimum Temperature: 16
  • Strongest Sustained Winds: 36 mph
  • Strongest Wind Gust: 52 mph
  • Snowfall: 20.8 inches
  • Freezing Rain: 0 inches
  • Lowest Visibility: 0 miles
  • LWSS Score: 5.43
  • LWSS Category: Extreme

On Tuesday, March 25th, the sun shown brilliantly on a snow covered state. However, another storm was developing in the Rockies. Snow began to fall over most of the state early Wednesday morning and by noon the winds had increased to blizzard conditions. By evening, the storm turned northward and crossed into the central portion of the state. Blizzard conditions reduced visibility to near zero and continued into Wednesday night. In the eastern portion, snow changed to rain and freezing rain, forming a layer of glaze ice. Storm conditions continued into Thursday diminishing on Friday. Again, travel was almost halted. Some schools and businesses failed to open. Calving and lambing were occurring during this storm and the previous storm on March 23-24. During these storms losses were estimated at twelve to fifteen thousand calves and cows, five to seven thousand sheep and fifteen hundred to two thousand hogs. On Thursday, a fifteen hundred foot TV transmitting tower at Salem, belonging to KXON-TV was blown over. Two supporting guy wires for the transmitting tower of KJAM radio at Madison were broken. Three of the four fatalities associated with this storm were heart attacks resulting from exertion. The fourth was due to asphyxiation as result of being stranded in a car whose motor was kept running. The snow depth of the two storms ranged from less than one inch in the extreme southeast to slightly more than thirty inches in the central area.

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November 9-10, 1998

Pierre Weather Conditions For The Two Day Period

  • Maximum Temperature: 39
  • Minimum Temperature: 24
  • Strongest Sustained Winds: 44 mph
  • Strongest Wind Gust: 60 mph
  • Snowfall: 13.3 inches
  • Freezing Rain: 0 inches
  • Lowest Visibility: 0 miles
  • LWSS Score: 5.03
  • LWSS Category: Extreme

Heavy snow fell across most of central, north central, and northeast South Dakota from the early morning hours of the 9th into the late afternoon hours of the 10th. Heavy snow also fell across west central Minnesota from late in the evening on the 9th to late in the evening of the 10th. Snowfall amounts generally ranged from 6 to 14 inches. Early in the storm, much of the precipitation fell as rain, freezing rain, and heavy wet snow. During the early morning hours of the 10th, northwest winds increased to 20 to 50 mph and gusted at times to 60 mph. These high winds brought widespread blizzard conditions into the late evening hours of the 10th. On both the 10th and 11th, most area schools were closed, along with many highways, including Highways 12 and 83. Interstates 29 and 90 were also closed due to slick roads and near zero visibilities. Hundreds of vehicles were stranded in this storm, with many people needing rescue, and many motorists also slid off the roads. There were also numerous accidents, with a few resulting in injuries. Due to the ice build up from the rain, freezing rain, and wet snow early in the storm, along with the strong winds, many tree limbs, some trees, and power lines and poles were brought down, which resulted in multiple power outages across the region. The area most affected with power outages was north of a line from Mobridge to Ipswich, along Highway 212, north to the North Dakota border. Some 25 cities were affected with power outages. Hosmer was without power for over 40 hours. At South Shore, a family lost power for 120 hours. A lineman tried to get to the home twice, but could not because of the low visibility. A teenager was also lost overnight near South Shore while he was hunting with friends. He was found at 8am the next morning. In Watertown, two people were injured in an accident. Several of the downed trees across parts of the area blocked traffic for a time. Numerous businesses were closed and activities were cancelled on the 9th and 10th. In Pierre, the strong winds ripped the canopy off the Amoco gas station. The blizzard brought the fifth lowest barometric pressure on record to Watertown. Some snowfall amounts from this horrible blizzard included; 15.4 inches near Bryant; 12.5 inches in Webster; 12.3 in Pierre; 10.8 in Sisseton; 10.5 inches near Summit; 10.0 inches in Pollock and near Onida; and 9.0 in Blunt and Conde.

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December 23-26, 2009

Pierre Weather Conditions For The Four Day Period

  • Maximum Temperature: 24
  • Minimum Temperature: 2
  • Strongest Sustained Winds: 41 mph
  • Strongest Wind Gust: 53 mph
  • Snowfall: 13.5 inches
  • Freezing Rain: 0 inches
  • Lowest Visibility: 0 miles
  • LWSS Score: 4.86
  • LWSS Category: Crippling

A broad upper level low pressure area over the Upper Midwest associated with an intense surface low pressure area brought widespread heavy snow along with blizzard conditions to central and northeast South Dakota as well as west central Minnesota. The storm was a slow mover and produced several rounds of snow over a three-day period. Total snowfall amounts were from 7 to as much as 25 inches. The heavy snow combined with winds of 25 to 40 mph with gusts to 50 mph brought widespread blowing and drifting snow with visibilities frequently less than a quarter of a mile. This blizzard ranked in the top three for South Dakota snowfall with a state average of 15.4 inches. Most of the state received 10 inches of snowfall or more with many locations with 20 inches or more. Pollock in north central South Dakota set an all time high three-day snowfall total with 17 inches. Prior to the onset of the storm, the Governor declared a state of emergency for South Dakota. Large portions of both Interstates 29 and 90 across South Dakota were closed late on Thursday, December 24th. Both Interstates were closed through Christmas Day and into Saturday, December 26th. There were some stranded holiday travelers due to the road closings along with a few rescues. Most roads were reopened by Sunday morning, December 27th. There were also several vehicle accidents with nothing serious. Several airports were also closed throughout the storm along with a few spotty power outages occurring in Lyman county in central South Dakota. Total snowfall amounts over the three-day period predominantly ranged from 1 to 2 feet. Snowfall amounts with a foot or more included; 12 inches at Mobridge, Eureka, Waubay, and Eagle Butte; 13 inches at Highmore and Miller; 14 inches at Castlewood, Summit, Watertown, Pierre, and Ree Heights; 15 inches at Groton, Gettysburg, Webster, Wilmot, Hayti, and McLaughlin; 16 inches at McIntosh, east of Hayes and east of Hosmer; 17 inches at Timber Lake, Britton, and Pollock; 18 inches near Victor; 20 inches near Keldron; 22 inches at Murdo; 23 inches at Sisseton and 25 inches at Kennebec. In west central Minnesota Wheaton received 11 inches, Browns Valley received 15 inches with 16 inches at Ortonville and Artichoke Lake.

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March 2-5, 1966

Pierre Weather Conditions For The Four Day Period

  • Maximum Temperature: 33
  • Minimum Temperature: 10
  • Strongest Sustained Winds: 47 mph
  • Strongest Wind Gust: 58 mph
  • Snowfall: 9.5 inches
  • Freezing Rain: 0 inches
  • Lowest Visibility: 0 miles
  • LWSS Score: 4.70
  • LWSS Category: Crippling

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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January 3-5, 1997

Pierre Weather Conditions For The Three Day Period

  • Maximum Temperature: 36
  • Minimum Temperature: 5
  • Strongest Sustained Winds: 35 mph
  • Strongest Wind Gust: 44 mph
  • Snowfall: 14.4 inches
  • Freezing Rain: 0 inches
  • Lowest Visibility: 0 miles
  • LWSS Score: 4.63
  • 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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