The thick, cold slush of Monday afternoon’s snowfall froze overnight into a dangerous layer of black ice for area drivers to navigate.
Between 3:30 and 8:30 p.m. Monday, police responded to nine vehicle crashes, all of which were weather-related. The relentless wind kept snow flurries whirling around, causing limited visibility in some areas of town.
Several of the crashes happened as drivers were attempting to turn, Police Lt. Brent Wasson said. The slippery ice and snow made it nearly impossible for tires to gain traction, causing vehicles to slide into each other. No one was seriously hurt in the nine accidents.
The Sheriff’s Office also responded to several weather-related accidents during that time period on Echeta Road and Highway 59 just north of Highway 450.
While the snow petered out overnight, as temperatures dropped, the roads maintained their slick surfaces.
As of press time Tuesday morning, emergency services were responding to a crash on Highway 50 involving a semitrailer that had crashed into another vehicle and jackknifed off the road.
There was no immediate word on whether anyone was hurt in the crash or how severely.
At about 9:40 a.m. Highway 50 was closed between Lakeway and Force roads because of the crash, which was caused by sheets of black ice covering the blacktop. Emergency responders also noted that drivers were having difficulty stopping for the road closure because of the slick roads.
The section of Highway 50 remained closed as of press time. Visit gillettenewsrecord.com for updates as they are available.
Snowfall started light Monday resulting in a blanket of white over Gillette that lasted through Tuesday morning. The Weather Service Office in Rapid City, South Dakota, reports that Gillette received an inch of snow over a 24-hour period.
Snow is expected to return Wednesday night with temperatures dropping to 25 degrees. There is a chance for snow to continue into Thursday when temperatures will reach a high of 40.
The high Thursday will reach 39 degrees with a low of 24, according to the National Weather Service.