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Tuesday’s summer-like weather could turn suddenly wintry tonight and Thursday, according to forecasts that include 6-11 inches of total snowfall in Rapid City.

The high temperature climbed into the 70s on Tuesday with sunny skies. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for this evening through Friday morning.

Today is expected to be breezy and partly cloudy, and then mostly cloudy with a chance of rain in the afternoon and a high temperature in the mid-40s and winds up to 35 mph.

The snow is expected to begin falling tonight and turn heavy at times after midnight, with areas of blowing and drifting snow. Overnight lows will be in the lower 20s with north winds blowing 25 to 35 mph. The wind-chill factor from Wednesday night into Thursday morning could make the temperature feel as low as 2 degrees in Custer, 6 degrees in Spearfish and 7 degrees in Rapid City.

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More snow is in the forecast for Thursday, with highs in the mid-20s and the wind gusting up to 45 mph.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service forecast said snowfall amounts from today through Friday could reach 11-19 inches in Spearfish, 6-11 inches in Rapid City, 7-12 inches in Custer, and 4-10 inches in Hot Springs. Snowfall amounts on the plains outside of the Black Hills could reach 6-13 inches in Buffalo, 9-16 inches in Faith, 8-14 inches in Philip, and 7-13 inches in Pine Ridge.

The snow could push Rapid City past its annual precipitation record of 28.89 inches set in 1962. This year already ranks No. 2 in precipitation measured by Rapid City's downtown National Weather Service office, with 28.75 inches, which is 11.09 inches above normal for this point in the year.

The snow is expected to end Friday, but the cold will stay. The forecast high temperatures for Rapid City are in the low 30s Friday, around 40 on Saturday, and in the mid-40s Sunday.

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Contact Seth Tupper at seth.tupper@rapidcityjournal.com

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