Great Plains digs out of heavy snow, storm debris

PIERRE, S.D. — In the span of 24 hours, the scenic Black Hills in South Dakota were coated in up to three and a half feet of wet, heavy snow, one of several Great Plains states walloped by a storm system that’s caused millions of dollars in damage.

National Weather Service meteorologist Katie Pojorlie said the snow was expected to end later Saturday, giving people a chance to start digging out from the unusual, record-setting early fall snowstorm.

But wintry weather wasn’t the only thing wrapped into the powerful cold front, as thunderstorms brought heavy rain, hail and as many as nine tornadoes to Nebraska and Iowa. Fifteen people in northeast Nebraska were injured in a tornado Friday, and three died in a car accident on a snow-slicked Nebraska road.

Forecasters said the front would eventually combine with other storms to make for a wild — and probably very wet — weekend for much of the central U.S. and Southeast.

Power outages and impassable roads plagued western South Dakota on Saturday. More than 25,000 people lost power in the Rapid City area, and authorities were recruiting snowmobilers to help rescue about 80 motorists who’d been stuck in their vehicles overnight.

Rapid City plow driver Jesse Curnow said Saturday morning things weren’t moving so smoothly in chest-high drifts after a 21-inch snowfall.



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