National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


A low pressure system of rare intensity tracked across the Great Plains on Wednesday, March 13th and Thursday, March 14th 2019. Significant weather hazards began across South Dakota during the morning of the 13th as a broad arc of heavy precipitation moved from south to north. A rain/snow line was in place through much of the day, generally along the western side of the James Valley. Heavy rain of generally 1 to 2" as well as freezing rain (namely in and around Summit, which suffered tree damage) affected those to the east of this line, and heavy snow of generally 6 to 12" fell to the west of it. Strong and widespread north wind gusts of 45 to 70 mph developed during the evening of the 13th and lasted through much of the day on the 14th. Temperatures cooled during this time, and widespread blizzard conditions were observed across our forecast area. Severe snow drifts of up to 12 feet or higher were left in the storm's wake by the 15th across portions of central South Dakota. Impacts included minor flooding, countless vehicles in ditches, widespread road closures for extended periods (including portions of I-90), as well as power outages. This event capped off an incredibly snowy February and start to March, further setting the stage for potential springtime flooding. 

Event review pages from other offices can be found here: NWS Pueblo, CO, NWS Denver/Boulder, CO, NWS Rapid City, SD, NWS Grand Forks, ND, NWS Omaha/Valley, NE, and the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources

Observed snowfall amounts (Friday Night through Sunday Morning - 3/8-10/2019) across northeast South Dakota and west central Minnesota
WPC Surface Analysis from 7am on March 13th to 4pm on March 14th
WPC Surface Pressure Chart showing the low pressure system moving from the Central Plains to the Great Lakes region. Image Image
This powerful storm system produced widespread hazardous weather across the country SD DOT Road Conditions at 3 PM CDT on Thursday, March 14th, highlighting a large area of road closures. SD DOT Road Conditions at 10 AM CDT on Friday, March 15th, highlighting the many roads that remained shut down.  
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