February 6-8, 2001 Snowstorm

A major winter storm dropped heavy snow on northeast Wyoming and western South Dakota starting on the evening of February 6th and lasting until the early morning hours of February 8th. A graphical snowfall map is noted below. Click on it to get a high resolution version.

February 6-8th, 2001 Snowfall Totals (Click to Enlarge)

Record Snow Recorded at Rapid City, SD Airport

RECORD REPORT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RAPID CITY SD
430 AM MST THU FEB 8 2001
...NEW RECORD 24 HOUR SNOWFALL SET AT RAPID CITY AIRPORT YESTERDAY...
WEDNESDAY'S 24 HOUR SNOWFALL AT THE RAPID CITY AIRPORT WAS 11 INCHES
FOR THE DAY. THIS IS A NEW RECORD FOR THE GREATEST 24 HOUR SNOWFALL
DURING THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY. THE PREVIOUS RECORD WAS 10 INCHES IN
24 HOURS RECORDED ON VALENTINE'S DAY 1889.

Weather Discussion

A large upper level low pressure trough developed over the western United States by Sunday, February 4th, 2001. The low was forecast to stay well south of South Dakota. However, by Monday morning it had become apparent the storm would be moving further north. The storm moved a good 150-250 miles further north, namely from the central Rockies into the central Plains. The surface low pressure system wall well south of the area. An inverted trough from the low extended well into western South Dakota during the height of the storm. An animation of this can be seen. Of interest is how far south the surface low circulation was and little the low actually moved.

Much of the heaviest snow fell late Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning from about 9:00 PM to 6:00 AM. The NWS office in Rapid City recorded 6.6 inches of snow between Midnight and 5:00 AM. We received numerous reports of snowfall rates from 1-2 inches per hour. Those were impressive snowfall rates for periods of 6 hours. The heaviest snow totals were recorded from the southwest side of Rapid City to Cheyenne Crossing. 12-18 inches of snow fell in these areas.

Sequence of Events

  • 400 AM Monday, February 5th
    Winter Storm Outlook Issued

SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RAPID CITY SD
400 AM MST MON FEB 5 2001

...POTENTIALLY STRONG WINTER STORM DEVELOPING...

A BIG CHANGE IN THE WEATHER PATTERN OVER THE UNITED STATE WILL
DEVELOP A POTENT WINTER STORM TUESDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY. A STRONG
LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM IS EXPECTED TO DEVELOP OVER THE CENTRAL ROCKIES
OVER THE NEXT 24 HOURS. BY TUESDAY IT WILL MOVE ONTO THE CENTRAL
PLAINS...BRINGING COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF MOISTURE AND WIND TO NEBRASKA
AND KANSAS. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT HEAVY SNOW WILL WILL BE SEEN ACROSS
NEBRASKA AND EVEN INTO EXTREME SOUTHERN SOUTH DAKOTA LATE TUESDAY
INTO WEDNESDAY. AS MENTIONED BEFORE...THIS SYSTEM IS STILL
DEVELOPING. IF IT TAKES A LITTLE MORE NORTHERLY TRACK AS IT MOVES OUT
OF THE ROCKIES...IT COULD SPREAD HEAVY SNOW ACROSS MUCH OF SOUTHERN
AND WESTERN SOUTH DAKOTA.

THIS STORM IS DEVELOPING RAPIDLY AND CHANGES IN TIMING...TRACK...
AND INTENSITY ARE LIKELY. PLEASE STAY TUNED TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO OR
LOCAL COMMERCIAL RADIO AND TELEVISION STATIONS FOR FURTHER UPDATES
ON THIS DEVELOPING WINTER STORM.

  • 325 PM Monday, February 5th
    Winter Storm Watch Issued
    The Watch painted most of western South Dakota for potential heavy snow. The snow would start Tuesday afternoon, but become heaviest Tuesday night.

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RAPID CITY SD
325 PM MST MON FEB 5 2001

.A STORM SYSTEM CURRENTLY DEVELOPING IN THE SOUTHWEST UNITED STATES
WILL START TO MOVE INTO THE NORTH CENTRAL PLAINS TOMORROW. PLENTY OF
MOISTURE ALONG WITH INCREASING UPSLOPE FLOW WILL BRING THE CHANCE
FOR HEAVY SNOW TO SOUTHWEST THROUGH SOUTH CENTRAL SOUTH DAKOTA
TUESDAY NIGHT INTO WEDNESDAY.

STAY TUNED TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO OR YOUR LOCAL MEDIA FOR FURTHER
UPDATES ON THIS POTENTIAL WINTER STORM.

SDZ013-024>032-041>044-046-047-049-060430-
BENNETT-CENTRAL BLACK HILLS/PENNINGTON-CENTRAL FOOT HILLS-
CUSTER PLAINS-FALL RIVER-HAAKON-JACKSON-MEADE-MELLETTE-
NORTHERN BLACK HILLS/LAWRENCE-NORTHERN FOOT HILLS-PENNINGTON PLAINS-
SHANNON-SOUTHERN BLACK HILLS/CUSTER-SOUTHERN FOOT HILLS-TODD-TRIPP-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...CUSTER...EDGEMONT...FAITH...HOT SPRINGS...
KADOKA...LEAD/DEADWOOD...MARTIN...MISSION...MT RUSHMORE...PHILIP...
PINE RIDGE...RAPID CITY...SPEARFISH/STURGIS...WALL...WHITE RIVER...
WINNER
325 PM MST (425 PM CST) MON FEB 5 2001

...WINTER STORM WATCH FOR TUESDAY NIGHT AND WEDNESDAY...
LIGHT SNOW WILL START TO DEVELOP OVER THE AREA TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND
INCREASE IN INTENSITY THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT. SNOWFALL AMOUNTS IN
EXCESS OF 6 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE IN THE WATCH AREA. TRAVEL COULD
BECOME HAZARDOUS IN THE WATCH AREA BY TUESDAY EVENING.

  • 330 PM Tuesday, February 6th
    Winter Storm Warning Issued
    The Warning painted western South Dakota as the hot spot for heavy snow. Northeast Wyoming was put under an Advisory for less heavy snow.

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE RAPID CITY SD
330 PM MST TUE FEB 6 2001

.A POTENT STORM SYSTEM CONTINUES TO INTENSIFY OVER THE SOUTHWESTERN
UNITED STATES. AS IT MOVES OUT OF THE CENTRAL ROCKIES TONIGHT...IT
WILL SPREAD A BROAD AREA OF PRECIPITATION OVER MUCH OF SOUTH DAKOTA.
COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF MOISTURE ARE AVAILABLE WITH THIS SYSTEM AND A COLD
ATMOSPHERE IS IN PLACE. HEAVY SNOW WILL OCCUR ACROSS MUCH OF SOUTHERN
SOUTH DAKOTA AND THE BLACK HILLS TONIGHT THROUGH WEDNESDAY.

IF TRAVEL IS NECESSARY...DRIVE WITH EXTREME CAUTION.  REDUCE DRIVING
SPEEDS...LEAVE PLENTY OF ROOM BETWEEN YOU AND THE MOTORIST AHEAD OF
YOU...AND ALLOW EXTRA TIME TO REACH YOUR DESTINATION.  AVOID SUDDEN
BRAKING OR ACCELERATION...AND BE ESPECIALLY CAUTIOUS ON HILLS OR WHEN
MAKING TURNS.

SDZ012>014-024>032-041>044-046-047-049-WYZ057-070130-
BENNETT-BUTTE-CENTRAL BLACK HILLS/PENNINGTON-CENTRAL FOOT HILLS-
CUSTER PLAINS-FALL RIVER-HAAKON-JACKSON-MEADE-MELLETTE-
NORTHERN BLACK HILLS/LAWRENCE-NORTHERN FOOT HILLS-PENNINGTON PLAINS-
SHANNON-SOUTHERN BLACK HILLS/CUSTER-SOUTHERN FOOT HILLS-TODD-TRIPP-
WYOMING BLACK HILLS-ZIEBACH-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...BELLE FOURCHE...CUSTER...DUPREE...
EDGEMONT...FAITH...HOT SPRINGS...KADOKA...LEAD/DEADWOOD...MARTIN...
MISSION...MT RUSHMORE...PHILIP...PINE RIDGE...RAPID CITY...
SPEARFISH/STURGIS...SUNDANCE WY...WALL...WHITE RIVER...WINNER
330 PM MST (430 PM CST) TUE FEB 6 2001

...WINTER STORM WARNING FOR TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY...
LIGHT SNOW HAS ALREADY DEVELOPED ACROSS MUCH OF WESTERN SOUTH DAKOTA
AND WILL CONTINUE TO INCREASE IN COVERAGE AND INTENSITY.  BY
MORNING...ANYWHERE FROM 4 TO 8 INCHES OF SNOW ARE POSSIBLE. NORTH TO
NORTHEAST WINDS WILL ALSO INCREASE TO 15 TO 30 MPH BY MORNING
CREATING AREAS OF BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW. VISIBILITIES WILL LIKELY
BE UNDER A HALF A MILE AT TIMES CREATING DANGEROUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS.
SNOW WILL CONTINUE TOMORROW WITH TOTAL SNOWFALL ACCUMULATIONS OF 6
NEAR THE NEBRASKA BORDER WITH UP TO 14 INCHES 50 MILES NORTH AND
SOUTH OF INTERSTATE 90.

$$

WYZ054>056-058-070130-
CROOK WY-NORTH CAMPBELL WY-SOUTH CAMPBELL WY-WESTON WY-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...GILLETTE...MOORCROFT WY...NEWCASTLE WY...
WRIGHT
330 PM MST TUE FEB 6 2001

...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY FOR TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY...
LIGHT SNOW WILL CONTINUE OVER THE AREA AND INCREASE IN INTENSITY
THROUGH THE NIGHT. SNOWFALL AMOUNTS WILL BE 1 TO 4 INCHES BY MORNING.
NORTHEAST WINDS WILL INCREASE TO 15 TO 25 MPH ACROSS MUCH OF THE AREA
CREATING AREAS OF BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW MAKING TRAVEL HAZARDOUS.
ADDITIONAL SNOW WILL FALL DURING THE DAY TOMORROW WITH TOTAL SNOWFALL
ACCUMULATIONS OF 3 TO 6 INCHES POSSIBLE IN THE ADVISORY AREA BY
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON.

  • 154 PM Thursday, February 8th
    All Winter Storm Headlines Cancelled

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