Storm to sweep Legislature out of Pierre early Friday

A major winter storm is supposed to blanket much of South Dakota in up to eight inches of snow Friday, and the South Dakota Legislature is making adjustments so its members can try to beat the snow.

The Senate and House of Representatives normally convene at 2 p.m. each afternoon, but on Friday the House will meet at 12:30 p.m while the Senate comes in at 1 p.m. Given the early state of the session, both houses will probably finish in just a few minutes.

That will probably let lawmakers from the north and northeast of the state get home safely. Those regions, facing six to eight inches of snow, aren’t expected to get precipitation until late afternoon or evening, with most of the snow falling overnight.

Lawmakers from the western part of the state won’t be so lucky. Snow in Rapid City and other western areas will start early afternoon and fall heavily during the day, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Amy Parkin.

Western areas will see around six inches of snow, with the northwestern corner getting up to eight and the state’s lowest temperatures. (Sorry, Betty Olson.) The area around Mobridge will be six inches or more, while Aberdeen is facing two to four inches.

Pierre, for anyone sticking around, is forecasted to get three to four inches of snow.

Lawmakers heading east on Interstate 90 may luck out. 

"I would say right now, that area’s not going to pick up a lot of snow," Parkin said.

Sioux Falls and the southeast corner of the state may miss the storm altogether. The snow line is expected to pass north of Sioux Falls.

Adjusting schedules for storms is not unusual in the South Dakota Legislature. Friday schedules are sometimes moved up even when the weather is clear, just to give lawmakers an early start out of town back to their home districts.

Tags: weather