Snowy South Dakota by Ammon Hawkes

Although, as some non-midwesterners are inclined to believe, we residents of South Dakota do not live in igloos or ride bison through shoulder-high banks of snow, the winter of 2019 has certainly put Great Plains citizens’ hardy survival skills to the test.

When reflecting upon the latest weather developments of this winter season, a prominent theme seems to be snow. Storm after storm has dumped jaw-dropping amounts of frozen precipitation on Madison, SD, with many as 14 inches at one time. Countless shovels, snowblowers, and plows have been employed in an effort to clear heaps of snow that have already reached about three and a half feet throughout the city.

Freezing temperatures, including wind chills that have reached 50 degrees below 0°F, have kept surfaces icy and covered in snow. Endless, blowing winds prove particularly dangerous on country roads, where wind and considerable drifts make vision ambiguous and hazy and cross-town travels overall precarious. Mason Avery, an MHS student and born-and-raised South Dakotan, said, “I live six miles out of town, and the gravel road I live on isn’t plowed, so we have to move the snow ourselves, and even then, the country roads are sometimes impassable.” These conditions have already led to 8 snow days and multiple late starts in the school schedule.

This snowy, chilly weather has lasted what seems an eternity, and there is no end in the near future. However, as temperatures reach near or a few degrees above freezing--a heat stroke for South Dakotans--it has become clear that as all this snow turns to water, equally dangerous and inconvenient flooding will occur. All ready, vehicles have had to be towed out from the depths of melting puddles. Michaelyn Larson, another MHS student said, “When I was in Sioux Falls last weekend, reaching the interstate through the water and slush was very difficult and dangerous.”

All in all, this season has been something far beyond a chilly winter wonderland. However, citizens of these snowy areas are faithful that spring will come sooner or later, and we look forward to a time when we can complain about the heat and sun rather than the cold and snow.