RAPID CITY, SD – 2022 was full of some pretty big weather events, even after a pretty slow start.
A blizzard swept through the northern Great Plains and was mainly isolated to North Dakota, but the effects were felt in far northwest South Dakota where Buffalo received almost a foot of snow.
A week and a half later, severe thunderstorms moved through the state, dropping 3.5-inch hail between Wall and Kadoka and 2-inch hail in the southern Black Hills. Over the next several hours, on the morning of April 22, rain and hail turned to snow.
Another blizzard affected far western South Dakota, bringing two feet of snow to the northern hills.
The weather activity died down in May, but returned with full force in June. Thunderstorms dropping massive hail rocked the Black Hills and the surrounding plains over the course of three days.
4.5-inch hail was reported in Wall and large amounts of 4-inch hail was reported in Bell Fourche, destroying buildings and vehicles. There was even a small tornado near Murdo.
During that span, 90+ mph winds were recorded on each of those days.
After a short break in thunderstorm activity, storms returned to the area in the beginning of July. These thunderstorms weren’t particularly strong, but they were tapping into monsoonal moisture coming in from the southwest desert.
That amount of moisture, combined with a stationary front, resulted in several inches of rain falling over Box Elder in less than an hour. All of that rain caused extensive flooding throughout the area and damaged many homes.
Weather in the fall was fairly calm, but the beginning of winter greeted the area with a formidable blizzard. Over the course of five days, several feet of snow covered the Central Plains and the northern Black Hills.
50 inches of snow was reported at Terry Peak. There were also many wind gusts over 60 mph, which significantly reduced visibility.
Mother Nature didn’t give us much of a break to recover from the previous storm before throwing us another curveball. The week following the December 12-16 blizzard, temperatures plummeted and the wind began to pick up.
Wind chills dropped to dangerously low temperatures, reaching -50 degrees in some areas. On the night of December 21, a small amount of snow fell over the area. Because of the temperatures, there was not a whole lot of moisture in the snow. This meant that it could be blown around by the wind more easily.
The blowing snow created ground blizzard conditions, dropping the visibility to near zero at times and making travel impossible for much of the state. There was so much blowing snow that it could even be seen by satellite.
Around 1:30 am on December 22, Rapid City broke its daily low temperature record when it got down to -18 degrees.
This combined with very strong winds meant that -60 degree wind chills were felt throughout the area and created a deadly situation for anyone who was stuck on the roads during the blizzard.
Looking forward, it looks like South Dakota won’t get much of a break heading into 2023, with more winter weather on its way.