The South Dakota Department of Transportation says that travel conditions will get progressively worse as Sunday's winter storm brings snow and wind to the Sioux Empire.

This weather combination will create hazardous driving conditions with dangerous wind chills and near zero visibility. Roads are likely to become snow covered and drifting may occur, particularly in sheltered areas and at the ends of bridges.

“This is a powerful winter storm that is going to make travel extremely difficult, if not impossible, throughout much of the state Saturday night through Monday morning,” says Transportation secretary Darin Bergquist. “Conditions will deteriorate rapidly as the storm moves through South Dakota and people should make plans to stay put or extend their stay until Monday.”

People who must travel should drive with extreme caution and are encouraged to visit Safetravelusa or dial 511 to check the latest road conditions and travel advisories before heading out.

Travelers are reminded that SDDOT crews will plow until early evening hours as conditions allow. After that, winter maintenance will be suspended and will resume about 5 a.m. the next morning, weather permitting.

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
  • Use highly traveled roads and highways
  • Keep family and friends informed of your travel schedule and route
  • Call 511 or visit 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

-South Dakota Department of Transpiration