Stronger winds and more snow are expected this morning before the weather begins to clear up. 

"We'll probably see the low visibility with the gusty winds and the heavier snow fall," Alzina Foscato, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Rapid City, said Wednesday afternoon. 

The Rapid City area could have gusts up to 45 mph this morning compared to Wednesday's high of 35 mph at the airport and 25 mph downtown, Foscato said. Rapid City is expected to accumulate 8-10 inches of snow from Wednesday afternoon until this evening, while Lead should see 12-14 inches during that time period. Temperatures should be in the upper 20s and low 30s at lower elevations and chillier at higher ones.

The wind and snow should begin to die down from the west to the east beginning in the late morning or early afternoon before completely ending by this evening, Foscato said. 

"It will take some time to melt this stuff," Foscato said. 

High temperatures in the region should rise from the mid 30s on Friday to the mid-upper 40s on Sunday before hitting the low 50s next week. 

Downtown Rapid City recorded 5 inches of snow by noon Wednesday, Foscato said. Custer did not see much snow but Deadwood had 4 inches by 9 a.m. and Sturgis had 7 inches by 9:30 a.m. Parts of Meade County saw large amounts of snow, with 18 inches in Mud Butte and 15-18 inches in Faith at 2:45 p.m. 

The Pine Ridge Reservation is hoping to receive federal funding as it prepares for this storm while recovering from a previous bomb cyclone that brought major flooding, according to a press release from the Lakota People’s Law Project, which is helping the tribe with emergency preparedness and recovery. The flooding damaged more than 75 structures, displaced 1,500 people, and damaged roads and water systems, causing millions of dollars of damage to infrastructure.

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Not much snow had fallen in the reservation by Wednesday afternoon, Foscato said. 

Rapid City postponed today's Ward 5 meeting due to the weather. Interstate 90 was closed from the Ellsworth Air Force Base to Mitchell at around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday while I-29 was closed earlier in the day from Brookings to the North Dakota border. People are encouraged to stay off the roads and should check safetravelusa.com/sd before they decide to drive. 

Anyone flying to or from Rapid City through noon today should contact their airline for the status of their flight, the Rapid City Regional Airport wrote on its website. 

The Rapid City public and Catholic schools and the Douglas and Meade school districts were closed Wednesday while Western Dakota Tech and the Rushmore Mall closed after 3 p.m. Rapid City schools are closed again today. 

Pennington County offices, many state courts, and state offices in the 52 counties with blizzard warnings were also closed. The Rapid City Regional Airport remained open but most flights were canceled. 

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— Contact Arielle Zionts at arielle.zionts@rapidcityjournal.com

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