Turmoil On Highways
A week-long winter storm brought ice, blizzard conditions, and heavy snow as the storm came to an end, with sunshine starting out on Saturday morning. Before reaching the end of the tunnel, we had to get through havoc conditions on the roads.
Many trucks and vehicles found themselves in the ditch or just stuck on the roads, keeping first responders busy. The Pennington County Sheriff's Office reported on Friday that several vehicles were stuck on the highway, and Search and Rescue crews were called out to rescue motorists.
Photo Credit: Pennington County Sheriff's Office - Interstate 90 near New Underwood.
Photo Credit: South Dakota Highway Patrol - Interstate 29 north of Watertown
Photo Credit: South Dakota Highway Patrol - Interstate 29 north of Brookings.
The storm at times was too much for first responders as this tow truck rolled on Interstate 29 near Brookings.
As conditions became extremely dangerous, state officials closed down Interstate 90 from Mitchell to Wyoming and Interstate 29 from Watertown to North Dakota. Parts of the interstates remain closed this Saturday morning.
Photo Credit: South Dakota Department of Transportation
Photo Credit: South Dakota Highway Patrol
State troopers were posted by major interstate access points to keep motorists from going around the road closed signs, but other motorists decided to take other secondary roads. Officials in several counties reported long lines of vehicles taking these roads but later found themselves trapped in snow drifts and whiteout conditions.
Photo Credit: South Dakota Highway Patrol - US Highway 14 west of Fort Pierre.
Law enforcement sent out pleas to people to stay home. Hughes County Sheriff's Office posted this on their Facebook page "Do your part and avoid putting First Responders at risk. Not traveling on roadways also reduces compaction and helps plow crews do a better job, faster when conditions improve."
Photo Credit: Hughes County Sheriff's Office
On to better news, the state has reopened Interstate 29 and hopes to have Interstate 90 open by the end of the day statewide. For the latest road conditions and road closures, check out the state's website at sd511.org.