SIOUX CITY – Siouxlanders spent Tuesday digging out of a late-season winter storm that produced clogged streets and treacherous driving conditions and forced schools to cancel or postpone classes.
The precipitation, which began as rain in some areas before switching to snow Monday morning, left parts of the tri-state region with as much as 10 inches of snow by late Tuesday.
The highest accumulations were found west of Interstate 29 and along and north of Highway 14 in South Dakota, according to the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls.
Around 3.7 inches had fallen in Sioux City by the time the snow stopped Tuesday. Le Mars collected around 4 inches; Sheldon, Iowa, recorded 5 inches; and Yankton, South Dakota, had 7 inches.
Blowing and drifting snow from high winds created whiteout conditions on some roads for much of the day.
Interstate 29, north from Sioux City to the North Dakota border, reopened Tuesday morning after closing overnight Monday and stranding dozens of motorists. In South Dakota, a 200-mile stretch of Interstate 90 reopened from Sioux Falls to Mitchell early in the afternoon, and the remaining portion from Mitchell to Murdo reopened later in the day.
Yankton, Clay and Union counties in South Dakota; Dixon County in Nebraska; and Plymouth and Sioux counties in Iowa were under a blizzard warning that expired late Tuesday. The remainder of Siouxland was under a winter weather advisory that also expired in the afternoon.
The snowfall and clogged roads led to closures, cancellations and postponements galore in Siouxland. Tuesday’s classes were cancelled in Sioux City, South Sioux City, Bishop Heelan and many other area districts.
In Sioux City, road crews have been working since Monday morning to get streets cleared.
David Carney, Sioux City's public works director, said in an email that the 12-hour day and night shifts will continue until all streets have been cleared.
Priority one (highly trafficked) streets, like Hamilton Boulevard, Morningside Avenue, Outer Drive and all downtown streets, are "in decent shape," Carney said in his email.
Carney said crews were “attacking" priority two streets, and were starting to clear priority three (residential) streets. He expected to see "real progress" on residential roads overnight Tuesday.
While the city did not declare a snow emergency, parking was not permitted on snow routes, which are designated by blue snowflake signs.
Snow was not the only weather condition some Siouxlanders had to worry about. The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls issued a flood warning for the Big Sioux River above Hawarden, Iowa, through Wednesday afternoon. At 3 p.m. Tuesday, the river stage was at 18.6 feet, just below the flood stage of 19 feet for minor flooding.
The river is forecast to rise near 19.1 feet by Wednesday morning before retreating, according to the National Weather Service. At stages near 19 feet, agricultural flooding begins on the South Dakota side of the river.
Brad Adams, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, said no more significant snowfall is expected this week, though temperatures would stay cold for some time. The forecast Wednesday for Sioux City calls for mostly cloudy skies with a high near 30 and northwest winds around 15 miles per hour.
By Friday, the high is expected to hit 41 degrees.