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June 09, 2014 06:00 PM

Tornado Sirens Installed At Lake Poinsett

lake poinsett, sd

Visitors and homeowners around Lake Poinsett finally got something they've been asking for for years: tornado sirens.  Unfortunately, it took the tragic death of a Sioux Falls woman last year to finally convince the state that the lake needed some sort of advance warning system to alert people of threatening weather.

The tornado that hit Lake Poinsett last year damaged several properties and took one woman's life.

"Lake Poinsett during the summer is the most populated area we have in Hamlin County. There's a lot of outdoor recreation here and camp grounds, resorts, golf courses," Hamlin County Emergency Manager David Schaefer said.

That's why South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks has been working with Homeland Security to get grant money to install two tornado sirens around the lake.  Over the weekend, crews put up one at the Sorenson Access Area and the other at the Lake Poinsett State Park.

"They're meant for outdoor recreation; they're not meant for people to hear them inside their homes," Lake Poinsett State Park manager Dan Sternhagen said.

The two tornado sirens will provide some advanced warning for boaters and people on the beach should another tornado hit this area. 

However, state officials want to remind people that not everyone around the lake will be able to hear them.

"Lake Poinsett is a big lake.  Obviously it depends on what way the wind is coming from, how bad it is," Sternhagen said.

"There's no guarantee for that because sirens are outdoor warning systems.  For people who are in their homes, absolutely need a NOAA Radio and when those warnings go out, the best advice I can give is for people to pay attention to them," Schaefer said.

Hamlin County's Emergency Manager hopes to get another grant to put up at least two more sirens around the lake in the future.

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