UPDATED: A forecast calling for large amounts of snow coupled with winds gusting up to 70 mph has prompted the National Weather Service in Rapid City to issue a blizzard warning for Rapid City and the Black Hills.
Jeff Schild, meteorologist with NWS Rapid City, said on Thursday afternoon that conditions will be dangerous and that people should stay home Friday.
"I would not have travel plans tomorrow," he said. "The blizzard warning covers the Sturgis and Spearfish area too. If you have any travel plans, I recommend changing or delaying them if at all possible."
He said heavy, wet snow coupled with sustained winds of 35-55 mph winds with gusts around 70 mph will create zero-visibility conditions.
ORIGINAL STORY: A strong winter storm is forecast to drop two feet or more of snow in the higher elevations of the Black Hills and up to a foot in Rapid City, according to the latest update by the National Weather Service in Rapid City
The heaviest snow is expected to fall between Lead and Custer, with areas as far as Lemmon and Winner expected to see four to five inches. Rapid City could receive nine to 12 inches of snow.
"This is very powerful storm," said Jeff Schild, meteorologist with NWS Rapid City. "It’s the perfect pattern for us to get heavy snow and strong winds."
He said the winds are also expected to be very strong at around 25 to 40 miles per hour with stronger gusts. And the snow is expected to be very wet.
"The snow will be heavy and sticky, and it looks it will be coming down sideways," Schild said.
This will make travel hazardous, and cause problems with snow accumulation in trees, causing falling limbs and damaged trees.
"That is what makes the storms this time of year of year so tough because everything still has it's foliage," he said.
The transition from rain to snow will be just before sunrise Friday morning, he said.
Temperatures are forecast to be in the mid-20's to 30's throughout the day Friday for much of the area.