Visibility is expected to decline throughout the region as snow fall and wind speeds pick up throughout the day and into Thursday morning.
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 stay off the roads and should check safetravelusa.com/sd before they decide to drive.
RapidRide embarked on its last lap at 4:15 p.m. and suspended its two remaining laps for the day, while Dial-A-Ride completed its last pickup of the day at 5 p.m.
Visibility "will continue to get worse," said Alzina Foscato, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Rapid City.
Foscato said visibility at the Rapid City airport was 3/4 of a mile Wednesday morning, while it's 2.5 miles in Custer.
Downtown Rapid City recorded 3.5 inches of snow at 9:50 a.m., Foscato said. Custer recorded 3 inches by 9:30 a.m., Deadwood had 4 inches by 9 a.m. and Sturgis had 7 inches by 9:30 a.m. Mud Butte in Meade County saw the most snow in the region with 18 inches. Temperatures today and Thursday should be in the upper 20s and low 30s in lower elevations, and chillier at higher ones.
The wind and snow should begin to die down from the west to the east throughout Thursday but "it will take some time to melt this stuff," Foscato said. Temperatures should rise from the upper 30s on Friday to the mid 40s on Sunday before hitting the low 50s next week.
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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.
The snow has closed Rapid City public and Catholic schools, and the Douglas and Meade school districts for the day. Western Dakota Tech and Rushmore Mall closed after 3 p.m.
Rapid City offices remain open, but tonight's East Rapid City Corridor Study and Historic Preservation Commission meetings as well as tomorrow's Ward 5 meeting, have been postponed.
Pennington County offices, including the court, are closed. Other courts in the region are closed as are state offices in the 52 counties with blizzard warnings. Black Hills National Forest offices are closed in Rapid City, Custer, Spearfish and Sundance, Wyo. VA clinics remain open but the Pierre and Winner locations will close at noon Central Time.
The Rapid City Regional Airport remains open but most flights have been canceled. Anyone departing from or arriving to Rapid City until noon tomorrow should contact their airline for the status of their flight, the airport says on its website.