February 2, 1960

Watertown Weather Conditions Over The Single Day

  • Maximum Temperature: 29
  • Minimum Temperature: 25
  • Strongest Sustained Winds: 12 mph
  • Strongest Wind Gust: 17 mph
  • Snowfall: 1.00 inches
  • Freezing Rain: 3.00 inches
  • Lowest Visibility: 0.5 miles
  • LWSS Score: 5.48
  • LWSS Category: Crippling

Heavy icing from freezing rain accumulations form the afternoon of the 2nd to the afternoon of the 3rd occurred mainly across the eastern half of the state. Severe damage to power lines and telephone service occurred in the Watertown and Wessington Springs area. Ice coatings of up to 3 inches thick and having an estimated weight of nine pounds per foot of wire formed around telephone and some power lines over a wide area of the eastern counties. A 300 foot tower high collapsed at Wessington Springs and in some areas utility wires were completely down for stretches of 2 to 3 miles. Some 170 long distance telephone circuits were knocked out in larger cities and 19 towns from Bonesteel on south to Watertown on north were completely without telephone service for two to three days after the storm. Many highways were treacherous and numerous vehicles collided or slid off the road into the ditch. Many schools were also closed.

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March 23-24, 1975

Watertown Weather Conditions Over The Three Day Period

  • Maximum Temperature: 31
  • Minimum Temperature: 10
  • Strongest Sustained Winds: 35 mph
  • Strongest Wind Gust: 55 mph
  • Snowfall: 12.8 inches
  • Freezing Rain: 0.06 inches
  • Lowest Visibility: 0 miles
  • LWSS Score: 5.06
  • LWSS Category: Extreme

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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April 25, 2008

Watertown Weather Conditions Over The Single Day

  • Maximum Temperature: 31
  • Minimum Temperature: 25
  • Strongest Sustained Winds: 33 mph
  • Strongest Wind Gust: 47 mph
  • Snowfall: 19 inches
  • Freezing Rain: 0 inches
  • Lowest Visibility: 0.25 miles
  • LWSS Score: 4.81
  • LWSS Category: Extreme

A potent early spring snowstorm brought widespread snow to portions of eastern SD on 4/25/08 and into early morning hours of 4/26/08. At the onset of this event, the precipitation began as light freezing rain before changing over to all snow. As the low pressure system that brought the snow continued to intensify and move through the region, winds also increased which created widespread visibility problems. Near-whiteout conditions were reported. The highest snowfall totals were observed along the I-29 corridor with 8 to 16 inches. There were a number automobiles damaged in accidents. Most counties impacted by the winter storm had to open emergency shelters when Interstate 29 was closed for a period of time on 4/25/08 in order to house stranded motorists. Many stranded motorists had to abandon vehicles in the hardest-hit areas.

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March, 2-5, 1966

Watertown Weather Conditions Over The Four Day Period

  • Maximum Temperature: 36
  • Minimum Temperature: -4
  • Strongest Sustained Winds: 29 mph
  • Strongest Wind Gust: 40 mph
  • Snowfall: 17.5 inches
  • Freezing Rain: 0 inches
  • Lowest Visibility: 0 miles
  • LWSS Score: 4.74
  • 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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March 26-28, 1975

Watertown Weather Conditions Over The Three Day Period

  • Maximum Temperature: 34
  • Minimum Temperature: 10
  • Strongest Sustained Winds: 37 mph
  • Strongest Wind Gust: 55 mph
  • Snowfall: 6.7 inches
  • Freezing Rain: 0.02 inches
  • Lowest Visibility: 0 miles
  • LWSS Score: 4.44
  • LWSS Category: Crippling

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 claves 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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