The South Dakota Departments of Transportation and Public Safety are advising motorists that portions of Interstates 29 and 90 will be closing at 7 p.m. CST (Friday, Jan. 17).
- Interstate 90, east and westbound, will be closed between Mitchell (Exit 332) and Sioux Falls (Exit 395)
- Interstate 29, north and southbound, will be closed between Sioux Falls (Exit 84) and the North Dakota border
The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning from 9 p.m. CST this evening (Friday) until 3 p.m. CST Saturday for some counties and from midnight to 6 p.m. CST Saturday for others in the eastern part of the state. Snow and wind today have already made travel conditions hazardous in many locations. Heavy drifting is expected with winds gusting as high as 55 mph.
Many highways are ice covered, snow-packed and slippery, and visibilities range from one-quarter of a mile to zero. Travel is being strongly discouraged across most of eastern South Dakota well into Saturday. Drivers trying to avoid the closures are reminded that state highways and county roads will not be any better and may likely be worse.
Travelers are reminded that SDDOT crews will plow until early evening hours as conditions allow, and it is safe for the drivers. After that, winter maintenance will be suspended and will resume about 5 a.m. the next morning, weather permitting. With the significant forecasted snow totals and high winds, it will take some time for crews to get roads clear and open again. If an interstate is closed, do not assume other highways are in any better condition.
Be sure to visit www.safetravelusa.com/sd or call 5-1-1 to check the latest road conditions and travel advisories before heading out. Sign up for ClearPath511 for closure notifications by text message or email.
If you must travel, the departments of Transportation and Public Safety recommend travelers also take the following steps.
- Wear your seatbelt
- Travel during the day
- Drive with your headlights on (not daytime running lights) so you can be seen by other motorists from the front and rear
- Don’t use cruise control on icy or snow-covered roads
- Use highly traveled roads and highways
- Keep family and friends informed of your travel schedule and route
- Call 511 or visit safetravelusa.com for road conditions
- Keep a winter weather survival kit in your car. The kit should include blankets, warm clothing, water, energy bars, a flashlight, a distress flag, a shovel and matches
- Travel with a charged cell phone, but don’t rely on it to get you out of a bad situation
- Change travel plans as weather conditions warrant
If you do get stranded:
- Stay in your vehicle
- Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes an hour to stay warm
- When the engine is running, open a window slightly to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Periodically clearing snow from the exhaust pipe will also help prevent carbon monoxide buildup
- When it’s dark outside, turn on the interior light so rescuers can see you
- Put up a distress flag, or spread a large colored cloth on the ground to attract attention from rescuers