Winter weather made its return to the region over the weekend, dumping up to 14 inches of snow in the central Black Hills with additional significant snowfall possible toward the end of the week.
According to the Rapid City office of the National Weather Service, areas around Deerfield Reservoir received 14 inches of snow through Monday morning and significant amounts of snow fell from the central to southern Black Hills.
Custer reported 8-10 inches of snow, Hill City received 7.5 inches and Keystone recorded 5.5 inches. The snowfall tapered down as it moved south, where Hot Springs received 2-3.5 inches of snow.
In the northern Black Hills, portions of Deadwood recorded 5.5 inches, downtown Spearfish received 5 inches, and Spearfish Canyon and Whitewood both reported 4 inches of snow.
Rapid City reported between 2-4 inches of snow, with the western foothills receiving the higher amounts and tapering off on the east side of the city. Reporting stations near Box Elder, Piedmont and Sturgis each reported approximately 1 inch of snow through Monday.
The rest of the week includes an unsettled weather pattern, the National Weather Service forecast said, with a few snow flurries possible through Tuesday. The Northern Hills may receive an additional 1-2 inches of snow, the forecast said.
However, a much stronger disturbance is expected to move through the area beginning Wednesday evening into Thursday, with several inches of snow possible in the northern Black Hills and northern plains and a few inches in Rapid City, Jeff Johnson with the National Weather Service said Monday afternoon.
"We have a pretty good cold front that will be moving through late Wednesday," Johnson said. "In the Rapid City area we may see an inch or two of snow, where in the northern Black Hills and plains, they could see anywhere from four to six inches. The heavier snow will be in far northwest South Dakota and into North Dakota."
Another system late Friday through the remainder of the weekend may also dump a large amount of snow, Johnson said.
"It looks like that particular storm is going to impact us with potentially higher amounts of snow during the Saturday night and Sunday time frame," he said. "We could see some significant snowfall accumulation with that storm. It does look like a stronger system moving through for the weekend than the one impacting us Wednesday night and Thursday."
Daytime high temperatures will range in the region from the lower 40s to mid-60s by Wednesday before dropping off to freezing temperatures Thursday and Friday, Johnson said.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center issued their winter outlook Thursday, which calls for slightly colder and slightly wetter conditions in the U.S. northern plains, but that line delineates right through southwestern South Dakota.
Johnson said the winter outlook does forecast a possibility for lower temperatures and higher precipitation through the Black Hills, but it probably won't be enough to ward off the drought conditions.
"It's going to take a lot of precipitation to get out of the drought, so even if we are able to get slightly above average snowfall this winter, it's likely not going to have a huge impact on the drought," Johnson said. "This is a La Nina year, and it's looking like it's going to be a fairly strong La Nina."
La Nina is a meteorological occurrence where below-average ocean temperatures in the east-central Pacific Ocean impact weather patterns. Johnson said during La Nina, the southeast portions of the United States are warmer than normal and the northwest United States is cooler than normal.
"If that continues, we have slightly better odds of seeing a little bit more snowfall in the winter months, and those temperatures favor a slightly colder winter," Johnson said.
Contact Nathan Thompson at email@example.com.
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