The Not-So-Perfect Storm

The Not-So-Perfect Storm
For people who had travel plans last weekend, the arrival of last weekend's snowstorm that affected much of the Midwest, including the Vermillion area, couldn't have come at a worse time.

Snow began falling at about 2 p.m. Saturday, and gained in intensity throughout the day.

It didn't let up until sometime Sunday morning. By then, an estimated 10 inches to possibly a foot of new snow carpeted the ground in the city.

There is no official precipitation measuring equipment from the National Weather Service located in Vermillion. A local woman used the next best thing � a yardstick � and measured a depth of 10 inches of new snow in a portion of her yard that lacked snowdrifts.

High winds Saturday and Sunday drifted the snow into depths of at least a foot.

By late Sunday morning, city snow crews had cleared not only emergency snow routes but most other streets in the city. The clear streets and blue sky acted as a cue to Vermillion citizens who grabbed shovels, started snowblowers and, in some cases, small loader tractors to start moving the heavy, wet snow.

The National Weather Service reported just before midnight Saturday that a weather system had moved east from Colorado, bringing warm air and moisture across eastern South Dakota.

Precipitation in the region originally began falling as rain or sleet until cold northerly winds transformed the precipitation into snow. Much of the southeast corner of South Dakota and neighboring areas of southwest Minnesota and Northwest Iowa had sleet and freezing rain. As Saturday morning progressed, the snow line gradually pushed east across the eastern and central sections of South Dakota.

The major winter storm continued to affect almost all of the northern plains Saturday night. Winter storm or blizzard warnings were in place Saturday for most of the Dakotas, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa. Heavy snow, combined with strong winds, hampered visibility and made travel treacherous.

On Sunday, the South Dakota Department of Transportation lifted all the no-travel advisories that had been issued because of the storm.

Still, major routes in eastern South Dakota were generally snowpacked and slippery with some drifting reported.

Steve Schade, a South Dakota Highway Patrol trooper, told the Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan that traffic was not heavy in the Sioux Falls area Sunday and that accidents had not been a big problem.

Travel plans for some of the teams and fans at the state Class A wrestling tournament in Sioux Falls were delayed because of the storm.

The Vermillion team was among those booking an extra night at their motel because of the snow, said Joe Delvaux, Vermillion�s wrestling coach.

Police and sheriff dispatchers in rural counties reported few accidents despite snowpacked and slippery roads.

The Sioux Falls area got rain, light rain, freezing rain, light freezing rain, light snow, sleet, fog and haze on Saturday � not to mention scattered reports of hail and thunder, said meteorologist Jeff Chapman.

Snowfall amounts across the eastern half of South Dakota were mainly in the four to eight inch range. Some locations closer to Yankton and Sioux City, IA picked up at least eight to 10 inches of snow. The Tabor area reported nearly 11 inches.

Other reports included seven inches at the Yankton Airport, six inches at the Brookings Airport, 5.1 inches at Winfred, 4.9 inches at the Aberdeen Weather Service, 5.6 inches at the Sioux Falls Airport, and 5.1 inches at Mitchell.

Vermillion hasn�t seen the last of nasty winter weather. Forecasters issued a hazardous weather outlook Tuesday as a smaller storm system headed toward the region.

Between 2 a.m. and noon Wednesday, there was a 80 percent chance of precipitation in the form of freezing rain, sleet and snow.

The weather was expected to be breezy Wednesday, with snow in the morning mixed with some light freezing rain or sleet. Total snow and sleet accumulation was expected to be between one and three inches.

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