Pierre saw a record snowfall for the date on Wednesday, Oct. 21 and it might see record low temperatures this weekend, according to Aaron Dye of the National Weather Service office in Aberdeen.
On Friday, the weather service issued winter storm warnings for much of western and central South Dakota, including for Hughes, Sully and Potter counties, including Pierre and Fort Pierre as well as Onida and Gettysburg. The one for Pierre will be in effect from 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 24 to 1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 25. The one for Fort Pierre and other areas West River will hit earlier and with snow amounts of 8 inches or more, according to the weather service. Everywhere from Murdo and Winner and Chamberlain up to Pierre, Mobridge and west to Faith is in the winter storm warning area this weekend.
It’s a serious storm: Heavy snow with total accumulations of 5-7 inches in the Pierre to Gettysburg area that will make travel “very difficult,” with blowing snow reducing visibility and perhaps blocking roads, according to the weather service.
Temperatures will plunge close to zero, with low of only about 5 degrees forecast for Monday. But by Friday, Oct. 30, the temperature will be back up to about 50, according to Dye.
The unusually early wintery weather began on Wednesday, Oct. 21, a paltry-sounding 1.1-inch of snow fell on Pierre, the most on that date since 0.4-inch of snow fell here in 1898, said Dye.
October is not normally a wet month in Pierre and when precipitation comes it’s more often than not in the form of rain. But more snow fell Thursday and even more was headed to Pierre and Fort Pierre for this weekend, Dye said.
The weather service records for Pierre regarding temperature and snowfall go back to 1892.
The weather service’s official-if-volunteer snow-measurer-guy does it at 7 a.m., each day. He then has to figure how much of the snow fell before midnight and how much after, to keep the records discrete for each 24-hour day, midnight to midnight, Dye said.
On Friday, the weather service reported a total snowfall in Pierre of 4.5 inches this week, 4.1 inches above the 30-year average for the first 22 days of October.
As a good example of how non-snowy October usually is in Pierre and Fort Pierre, a record was set Saturday, too, when 0.6 inch of snow fell on Pierre, breaking the record of “a trace,” of snow that fell on Oct. 24 in 1997 and 2001, according to the weather service.
More snow is coming by Monday and records for October snowfalls might fall across the state, Dye said.
The NWS forecast for the next seven days in Pierre:
Saturday: Snow likely, mainly after 9 a.m. Patchy blowing snow after 10 a.m. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Saturday night/early Sunday: Snow. Low around 18. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.
Sunday: Snow, mainly before 2 p.m. High near 24.
Sunday night/early Monday: A chance of snow before 8 p.m. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 5.
Monday: Sunny, with a high near 22. West-northwest wind around 9 mph.