South Dakota has seen a number of nasty winters in its day, but only one can claim the title of bringing the worst blizzard in state history. Which is it? It just so happens to be this record-breaking blizzard in South Dakota that hit more than 50 years ago:

While we were unable to find footage of this blizzard in South Dakota, we did uncover this stunning video from iNewZ TV, which shows the devastation the storm had just to the north of us:

Do you remember the North Plains Blizzard of 1966? Please share you memories with us in the comments. While you’re here, also check out A Massive Blizzard Blanketed South Dakota In Snow In 1997 And It Will Never Be Forgotten.

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blizzard in South Dakota

What is winter in South Dakota like?  

In a word? COLD! In two words? VERY cold! Winters here are frigid and snowy; blizzards and ice are not uncommon. On average, the majority of the state sees more than 30 inches of snow annually; in some areas, it’s much more, with Black Hills National Forest receiving up to 70 inches (and sometimes more) annually! The coldest city in the state is Aberdeen, where the average low year-round is 32 degrees. During the winter, some days don’t get above zero. In fact, two South Dakota cities are known to be so cold that they’ve repeatedly made lists of the top coldest cities in the United States: Sioux Falls and Rapid City are frigid as all get-out. In Sioux Falls, the average annual snowfall is about 37.6 inches, and in Rapid City, citizens tend to see about 38 inches annually. The good news is this: if you’re a fan of the cold, South Dakota is a wonderful place for you.  

What are some common natural disasters in South Dakota? 

The most common natural disasters in South Dakota include:

  • Tornadoes
  • Wildfire
  • Flooding
  • Blizzards
  • Ice Storms


South Dakota is not without its potential for disasters, unfortunately. Several of these events within the state set records, like the horrific flood of 1972, known formally as the Black Hills Flood. It was the single-most detrimental flood in the state’s entire history, resulting in more than 235 deaths. In 1965, South Dakota saw the single most dangerous type of storm there is: an F5 tornado ripped through Tripp County as part of a 30-tornado outbreak on May 8th. That disaster was significant in another way as well: the same storm system dropped plenty of snow over the Black Hills – up to 36 inches in some places! Other frightening natural disasters in South Dakota have been the horrific Grizzly Gulch fire of 2002, 2013’s intense ice storm, and more. For more details on these and a few other disasters that have struck our state, check out this frightening article