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Winner, Gregory continue digging out from heavy snow

WINNER — The big dig is in full force in south-central South Dakota.

The communities of Winner and Gregory were among the area communities hit hardest by the April blizzard blowing through the state on Friday and Saturday.

And now it's hard for Brent Gill and his crews to push around.

The Winner City Superintendent has at least 20 inches of snow to deal with after the storm passed through, as officials worked to make progress Monday.

"The main thing is you just can't move it around like you want," Gill said. "It's heavy and difficult in that way. But all in all, we're gaining pretty good ground."

With winds in excess of 50 mph, trained weather spotters reported whiteout conditions throughout the night Friday, including visibility down to less than 100 feet at times. High drifts were also reported throughout the area, forcing most residents to stay put to ride out the storm.

"You clear the main roads and just try to keep up with it," Gill said. "We were more than busy just doing that."

In Gregory, where city officials measured about 18 inches of snow, Mayor Scott Anshutz said he was proud of the people in his community for staying put during the storm.

"We advised no travel on Friday and Saturday and that helped," he said. "We didn't have many people out in the storm and I think for the most part, our people fared well."

Both communities are taking advantage of local contractors to help move snow out of the city. In Gregory, they've had to move snow to the city's athletic complex because there's nowhere else to put it. And driving through some of the wet snow that freezes has left ruts in the roadway.

"You've got some cars that are trying to go through that and it's tough," he said. "But we're cleaning that up as best as we can. We had a pretty good-sized blizzard last year but it was nothing like this."

The storm has brought Winner closer to normal values for precipitation in a year. Winner has received 3.18 inches for the year, up two-hundredths of an inch from the normal value.

"We'll take the moisture. That's good," Gill said. "We're just hoping this is the last one for a bit."

Going forward, Anshutz said he's hopeful that another common weather trend for the area holds true.

"We're usually one of the warmer areas of the state, after the Black Hills," he said. "Hopefully, Mother Nature can help us out there."

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