The South Dakota Departments of Transportation and Public Safety are advising motorists that eastbound Interstate 90 will be closing from Rapid City to Mitchell and westbound Mitchell to Wall at 6 p.m. MST (7 p.m. CST) Saturday.
The National Weather Service says heavy snow and extremely high winds will pick up early Saturday evening creating hazardous driving conditions with visibility down to zero. This system is not expected to ease up and leave the state until sometime on Monday.
Many highways are ice covered, and travel is being discouraged tonight into Monday unless absolutely necessary. Drivers trying to avoid the closures are reminded that state highways and county roads will not be any better and may likely be worse.
Officials say plows in locations with heavy snow will be brought in off most highways early evening and No Travel Advisories will be issued. Heavy drifting will start to occur fairly quickly.
Be sure to visit www.safetravelusa.com/sd or call 5-1-1 to check the latest road conditions and travel advisories before heading out. There is also an app (SDDOT 511) available for Android and iOS devices. Sign up for ClearPath511 for closure notifications by text message or email.
If you must travel, the departments of Transportation and Public Safety recommend travelers also take the following steps.
- Wear your seatbelt
- Travel during the day
- Drive with your headlights on (not daytime running lights) so you can be seen by other motorists from the front and rear
- Don’t use cruise control on icy or snow-covered roads
- Use highly traveled roads and highways
- Keep family and friends informed of your travel schedule and route
- Call 511 or visit safetravelusa.com for road conditions
- Keep a winter weather survival kit in your car. The kit should include blankets, warm clothing, water, energy bars, a flashlight, a distress flag, a shovel and matches
- Travel with a charged cell phone, but don’t rely on it to get you out of a bad situation
- Change travel plans as weather conditions warrant
If you do get stranded:
- Stay in your vehicle
- Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes an hour to stay warm
- When the engine is running, open a window slightly to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Periodically clearing snow from the exhaust pipe will also help prevent carbon monoxide buildup
- When it’s dark outside, turn on the interior light so rescuers can see you
- Put up a distress flag, or spread a large colored cloth on the ground to attract attention from rescuers