- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2014

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - A major eastern South Dakota highway shut down by a weekend blizzard reopened Monday, but travel remained treacherous in the region and some schools delayed buses and classes for a couple of hours.

Officials about dawn reopened Interstate 29 from Sioux Falls to the North Dakota border. Transportation officials in North Dakota reopened the interstate to the Canadian border at about the same time.

Sunday’s blizzard - the latest in a string of several severe storms to hit the region in recent weeks - brought wind gusts in excess of 60 mph that blew and drifted snow onto roadways. The storm also brought dangerous cold weather overnight, with wind chills dropping into the minus 30s.

South Dakotans are used to the cold, but a high number of days with subzero wind chills has kept schoolchildren inside for recess more than during a normal winter.

“When you get into the zeroes and the wind’s blowing and the wind chill is cold, they stay indoors and play inside the gym or the classrooms,” Brian Grogan, of Pierre, said Monday morning while dropping his three elementary school children off at St. Joseph School, a few blocks from the South Dakota Capitol.

“It’s a little bit colder than it has been in previous years, but we’re hardy people up here,” he said.

Other than the kids not being able to go outside as much, the colder winter hasn’t had much of an impact, he said.

“It’s just cold,” he said. “Once you get to zero, it’s just cold.”

High temperatures in northeastern South Dakota on Monday were not expected to be warmer than about 10 degrees below zero, with overnight lows into Tuesday plummeting to about 20 below, according to the National Weather Service. Daytime temperatures in the region aren’t expected to climb above zero until midweek.


Associated Press writer Blake Nicholson contributed from Bismarck, N.D.


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