National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


A strong area of Canadian low pressure dropped into the Northern Plains and then into Iowa from late Wednesday, January 13th into Friday, January 15th 2021. During this time, a variety of impactful weather occurred, driven largely by strong surface winds. Two separately-measured damaging wind gusts above 90 mph were recorded Wednesday evening, in the Bentley, North Dakota (north of Lemmon) and Buffalo, South Dakota areas, and wind gusts of 50 to 75 mph would go on to spread southeast across central and northeastern SD and west central MN Wednesday night, lasting unrelentingly through Friday afternoon. These winds were responsible for tipping numerous high-profile vehicles, as well as causing localized blowing dust. When combined with low relative humidity values across the snowless grasses of central South Dakota Thursday afternoon, conditions were ripe for wildfires. Several did occur, including just north of Pierre and in the Lemmon area, spreading into the night in some cases. Finally, while temperatures were too warm initially (a band of rain moved across the area Wednesday evening and night), a trace to locally 4” of snow accumulated Thursday into Friday across eastern South Dakota and west central Minnesota. Blizzard conditions were reported, and I-29 closed from 10pm Thursday into Friday morning from the North Dakota/South Dakota border to Iowa.

Friday, January 15, 2021: Travel conditions were hazardous across northeast South Dakota. Webcam images courtesy of the South Dakota Department of Transportation (SD DOT).
nws logo Media use of NWS Web News Stories is encouraged!
Please acknowledge the NWS as the source of any news information accessed from this site.
nws logo