The NWS warns that melting snow is causing dangerous driving conditions with fog and slippery roads
The Sioux Falls Police Department received 39 accident reports between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. Thursday, in addition to 30 accidents on Wednesday due to the weather, department spokesman Sam Clemens said at the daily police briefing with the media.
“Smooth roads, the result is people don’t slow down,” Clemens said.
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Clemens said many of the calls could be related to people getting ready for the snow to go away and wanting to drive normally again, but unfortunately, that type of weather has not happened yet.
Clemens said that if people are driving too fast and are not keeping enough distance from the cars in front of them, there is a possibility that the car will skid and cause an accident when it needs to stop.
“Slow down, leave early, give yourself extra time (and) extra distance, and then you won’t have to worry,” Clemens said.
The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls reiterated how road conditions were affected by the weather in its online hazardous weather forecast information.
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“Freezing drizzle causes slippery conditions, especially on untreated roads, parking lots and sidewalks,” and these slippery conditions were enhanced by dense fog across Sioux Falls, the website states.
As for precipitation, drizzle and fog will continue through Friday evening and early Saturday morning, said meteorologist Brittany Peterson.
“Areas of dense fog will persist with visibility less than a half mile through midday. The weather forecast indicates that fog may persist this afternoon and has a high chance of becoming dense again tonight into Friday morning. Areas of fog and freezing drizzle will likely appear again Friday night Until early Saturday.
On Saturday, the weather begins to turn sunny, while cloudy conditions continue at night, according to forecasts from the National Meteorological Authority. This is due to the recent snow storms the city has witnessed over the past two weeks.
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“We’ve had a significant snowpack that has built up over the last few weeks, and with temperatures warming to near or above freezing, we’re starting to see some snow melt,” Peterson said. “If we didn’t have a dehydrated air mass where snow melts very slowly, nights would likely develop clouds and fog as the temperature drops, but the humidity level stays the same.”
Central and eastern parts of South Dakota, eastern Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, as well as eastern Iowa, Missouri and Minnesota, also saw fog for a few days, Peterson said. She said that the melting of snow in the same air mass caused the areas to be exposed to similar conditions.
Peterson said days with higher temperatures will cause snow to melt more or faster and that will be better for agriculture. She added that more water will be absorbed into the soil and will flow into the rivers and out of the area.
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“Saturday and Sunday we will begin to flow west or southwest again at the surface, and this allows the drier air to move in and helps prevent fog development,” Peterson said.
While forecasts show warmer temperatures ahead, Peterson said that doesn’t mean the chances of more snow are over. She said that the region experiences snowfall during February and March, and perhaps even April and May.
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The NWS forecast for the next seven days is:
Thursday: Cloudy during the day with a high near 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Patchy fog after 1pm with calm winds becoming southeast at about 5 mph. Cloudy conditions will remain throughout the night and the minimum temperature will be around 29 degrees Fahrenheit. Areas of freezing fog between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. Winds north about 5 mph.
Friday: The weather is mostly cloudy during the day with a high temperature approaching 33°F with areas of fog. Winds will be calm, becoming west-northwesterly at about 5 mph in the afternoon. It is also partly cloudy at night, and the minimum temperature is around 25 degrees Fahrenheit. Patchy fog before 8pm and west winds around 5 mph.
Saturday: Partly sunny during the day with a high near 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Partly cloudy at night with a low around 17°F. Winds are northwesterly, ranging between 5 and 10 knots during the day.
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Sunday: The weather is mostly sunny with a high temperature approaching 33 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Partly cloudy at night with a low around 23°F.
Monday: Mostly sunny with high temperatures approaching 37 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Partly cloudy at night with a low around 28°F.
Tuesday: Mostly sunny, with high temperatures approaching 38 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Partly cloudy at night with a low around 28°F.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny with a high near 41°F.
This article originally appeared on the Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Sioux Falls Police say the weather may be linked to dozens of traffic accidents Thursday