Dangerous wind chills and up to 6 inches of snow are expected this weekend as colder air moves into the Black Hills.
The high temperature in Rapid City today will likely remain in the single digits, while Saturday and Sunday will see even colder weather. The worst will be Sunday, when temperatures are forecast to creep all the way down to minus 19.
The plains areas of western South Dakota could see wind chills as low as minus 45 over the weekend. Rapid City is expected to receive up to 6 inches of snow, while communities in the Northern Hills could get up to 8 inches, said Katie Pojorlie, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
City crews will be closely monitoring road conditions, said spokesman Darrell Shoemaker. With New Year's Eve falling on Sunday, more traffic is expected in the downtown area that day than normal. Shoemaker said crews will be ready to remove snow buildup to keep downtown streets safe if conditions warrant.
"Conditions can change in a few hours," he said.
Travelers are advised to take extra precaution over the weekend. Motorists should pack additional clothes or blankets that could be used to stay warm in case they become stranded, said Brook Eide, emergency medicine physician at Rapid City Regional Hospital.
When wind chills dip as low as minus 45, even something like a flat tire could be "devastating" if motorists aren't ready for the extreme conditions, Eide said. "Be prepared for the worst."
He also warned partygoers to be careful when consuming alcohol in the extreme cold, as it can cause the body to lose heat faster.
For folks hunkering down for the weekend to avoid the deep freeze, fear not, for warmer weather is on the way. The first few days of the new year will see temperatures gradually climbing, with a high of 9 on Monday, and 28 on Tuesday. For the latest weather conditions in the Black Hills, visit weather.gov/unr/.