Winter storm Gandalf, as it was named by the Weather Channel, appears to have been a waste of a mythic name.
The storm was predicted to dump more than 6 inches of snow across the region, but by Friday morning had fallen short of that measure by about 4 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
“Overall, the storm is a bit weaker than we thought it would be,” Dave Barbour, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Rapid City, S.D., said Friday. “The snow didn’t start until early this morning and it didn’t snow very hard at any time.”
Barbour estimated that since about 4 a.m. Friday, between 1 and 2 inches of snow had fallen in Gillette. The majority of the heavier snow was falling to the south and east of Gillette in a diagonal line across the state.
The weather service’s original forecast triggered the city of Gillette to declare a snow emergency that prohibits parking along emergency snow routes. The declaration allows the city to tow vehicles that are left parked along the street during the storm. Community service officers were sent out Thursday afternoon to find owners of vehicles that had not been moved, instead of towing them.
No cars had been towed by Friday morning, Police Lt. Chuck Deaton said.
But the emergency declaration will continue through the duration of the storm, he said.
There also were no car wrecks reported during the morning commute, according to Police Lt. Brent Wasson.
Nonetheless, the weather service upgraded its advisory for Campbell County to a winter storm warning early Friday morning. The new advisory wasn’t, however, due to predictions of heavy snow, Barbour said.
“The big issue we’ve seen over the whole area is blowing snow and drifting snow,” he said. “We kept the warning out for the whole area.”
He explained that sustained winds of 20 to 25 mph will be widespread over the region and gusts typically will be in the 30 mph range. That wind and what little snow has fallen and will fall during the day will cause slick roads and drifting in areas, he said.
The icy roads were enough to cause administrators in the Crook County School District to send students home from school in Moorcroft at 11 a.m. Friday and cancel sporting events for the night. It also caused the cancellation of some sporting events in Campbell County. (See story on Page B1.)
The snow is expected to subside late Friday night and give way to strong winds and extremely cold temperatures. The coldest temperature is expected Saturday night with a low of minus 8 degrees, according to the weather service forecast.