Winter Storm Diaz Strands More Than 70 Big Rigs in South Dakota

A fleet of commercial trucks were buried in snow just off Interstate 90 as snow drifts rendered the road impassable.

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Image for article titled Winter Storm Diaz Strands More Than 70 Big Rigs in South Dakota
Photo: South Dakota Highway Patrol

A large section of Interstate 90 was briefly closed last week due to a winter storm that dumped heavy snow across South Dakota and buried homes and businesses. The South Dakota Highway Patrol warned that the interstate would be closed for a couple of days, and even handed out citations to motorists and to commercial truck drivers who didn’t heed the warnings.

But even those truck drivers who heeded the SDHP’s warnings and decided they would rather not pretend their trucks were full grown moose barreling through walls of snow found themselves in trouble in Vivian, South Dakota, after snow drifts stranded them off the highway and buried between 70 to 80 big rigs, as the Drive reports.

Vivian South Dakota Aftermath of Blizzard | Coffee Cup Fuel Stop

Go read this account of what it was like to be stuck in the storm from the Drive, which cites truckers like Conrad Quail, and others who were caught under snow whipped about so forcefully that it eventually piled up on their sleeper cabs and covered their truck radiators:

Quail explains that prior to his truck being recovered completely, a local with a piece of heavy equipment was able to clear its front end so the radiator could breathe. Photos show snow piled near the top of the Peterbilt’s sleeper; combined with the weight of the load, this made it especially tough to yank out.

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Conrad Quail tells me he was hauling an oversized load when he pulled into the Coffee Cup Fuel Stop around 10:30 a.m. local time Tuesday. They had blocked off Interstate 90, which led him and dozens more drivers to the gas station just off State Highway 83. He was finally able to leave around noon on Sunday, and he confirmed there were roughly 70-80 semis there with him.

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While the interstate closures didn’t last throughout the entire weekend, many truckers were unable get back on the road for hours afterwards and even through today. Some of them had to wait for help from tow rigs and other heavy machinery that could dig them out of the snow.

The Weather Channel and local news outlets, such as KELO and KOTA, report that similar snow removal was being done throughout South Dakota, as snow drifts had partially buried even two-story homes about as easily as the sleeper cabs of the commercial trucks at the fuel stop in Vivian.

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Image for article titled Winter Storm Diaz Strands More Than 70 Big Rigs in South Dakota
Photo: South Dakota Highway Patrol