PIERRE, S.D. – Officials with the South Dakota Departments of Transportation and Public Safety are closing Interstate 29 from Brookings to the North Dakota border at 5 p.m. CST today (Feb.7) and from Sioux Falls to Brookings at 6 p.m. CST.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a blizzard warning for the northeast and far eastern part of the state with winds gusting to 50 mph. This is in addition to a wind chill warning in the area.
Motorists are advised there is significant drifting on the Interstate and many state highways in the eastern part of the state that is making safe travel impossible. Officials expect heavy drifting overnight and into the morning hours, so travelers should plan accordingly and heed the closures and No Travel Advisories.
Motorists are strongly encouraged to change travel plans and stay where you are until crews are able to make roads safe for travel on Friday.
Travelers are reminded that SDDOT crews will plow until early evening hours as conditions allow and it is safe for the drivers. Crews have already been pulled off several routes for safety issues due to visibility. Maintenance will resume about 5 a.m. Friday morning, weather permitting. With the significant forecasted snow totals and high winds, it will take some time for crews to get roads clear and open again. If an interstate is closed, do not assume other highways are in any better condition.
Also note that I-29 in North Dakota is closed from the South Dakota border to Grand Forks.
Before heading out in the morning, check road condition information at www.safetravelusa.com/sd, on the SDDOT 511 app or by calling 5-1-1. Sign up for ClearPath511 to get closing and opening notifications directly to your phone or email.
The state Departments of Public Safety and Transportation remind travelers to take the following safety precautions:
• Travel during the day and use highly traveled roads and highways when possible.
• Be flexible and cancel travel plans if weather conditions warrant.
• If the interstate is closed, secondary roads are not going to be any better and may be worse.
• When driving in low visibility, use headlights.
• Keep family and friends informed of your travel schedule and route.
• If you travel, wear a seatbelt. Keep a winter weather survival kit in your car and a charged cell phone with location turned on in your car, but don’t rely on the phone to get you out of trouble.
• If you get stranded, stay with your vehicle.
• Consider stocking food and water if you are in a remote area of the state.
• Take care of livestock and outdoor animals ahead of the storm.