Associated Press, Published April 19 2013
Latest snowstorm in Dakotas another record-breakerSIOUX FALLS — The latest spring snowstorm yet again broke records in the Dakotas.
The 2.9 inches of snow that fell Thursday in Sioux Falls, S.D., broke the 0.6-inch record for that day in 1978, according to the National Weather Service. Huron, S.D., saw 3.3 inches, breaking the previous 1.8-inch record from 1995. And Mitchell's 1910 record of 2 inches was exceeded by 1.3 inches Thursday.
Eastern South Dakota's roads were still slippery early Friday, and in southeastern North Dakota, which also received a couple of inches of fresh snow, the state Transportation Department issued a travel alert due to blowing snow.
Sioux Falls and Huron also broke city records on Thursday for coldest high temperature — 32 degrees and 33 degrees, respectively. In North Dakota, Dickinson had a record low of 11 degrees, breaking its record of 12 degrees set in 1953.
Spring snowstorms have walloped the Dakotas for more than a week. Earlier storms broke daily snowfall records in both Rapid City, S.D., and Bismarck, N.D. And a three-day ice storm last week damaged and downed trees and electrical lines in the Sioux Falls region, cutting power at one point to nearly 100,000 people.
City Councilman Kenny Anderson Jr., who also is on Xcel Energy's South Dakota Advisory Board, said he thinks it might be time to move the power lines underground.
"It's a question to see what the cost would be and if they felt it would be worthwhile to do," Anderson told the Argus Leader.
Xcel supplies power to most people and businesses in Sioux Falls. The utility mobilized workers from across the Midwest to help restore power in areas that were damaged in the ice storm.
Xcel spokesman Jim Wilcox said burying the system already served by overhead power lines would be costly, though he did not have an exact estimate.
"I think it easily could cause our rates to have to double," he said. "It would be an extraordinary expense."
Pierre, S.D., which has a municipal electric utility, decided 35 years ago to convert its overhead electric system to an underground system, utilities director Brad Palmer said. The transition happened section by section, and it took about 10 years to complete.
"I think it's definitely been a benefit to us," Palmer said.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.