SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– South Dakota’s Severe Weather Preparedness Week is April 19-23. This is a time to prepare and plan for when severe weather inevitably happens throughout the state.
A statewide tornado drill will be held starting at 10:15 a.m. (CDT) Wednesday.
KELOLAND Meteorologist Adam Rutt says that as we enter the early parts of the severe weather season, we will start to see strong to severe thunderstorms begin. Tornadic activity doesn’t really begin until a little later in the season.
Typically, severe weather doesn’t affect the KELOLAND area until closer to May or June, Rutt says.
“That being said, it is never too early to get prepared for really any kind of severe weather,” Rutt said.
In fact there have already been a few early-season storms this year. The main threat from those have included wind gusts and the occasional hail.
It is important to have a plan ready for when that severe weather happens, Rutt says. This includes knowing where to go, what you need and knowing where everything you need is.
“Being prepared ahead of time before anything comes around means that you are going to know exactly what to do, when and not if severe weather comes around,” Rutt said. “Having that plan of action means you won’t go into panic mode when something comes along. When you go into panic mode you tend to forget things because everything is kind of rushing around in your mind, your thoughts are going at a million miles an hour, but if you have that plan in place… ahead of time you can kind of keep more of a level head in this kind of situation.”
He says this will not only save time, but potentially save lives. Know where to go when severe weather happens.
“Whether it’s severe winds or tornado or anything like that, have a place to go that is basically a safe spot,” Rutt said. “If you have a basement, that’s where you go, especially if there is a tornado warning that comes around. If you don’t have a basement, it’s an interior most room away from windows, then have something to try and kind of shield yourself from anything that may be coming along.”
One thing you can do is get a kit ready to go. This kit should include important documents, prescription medications (enough to last until you are able to get a refill), water and non-perishable food items. He said to have this kit in a place that you know and is ready to go before severe weather happens.
The U.S Department of Homeland Security also recommends including:
- first aid kit
- extra batteries
- dust mask
- plastic sheeting
- duct tape
- moist towelettes
- garbage bags
- plastic ties
- wrench or pliers
- manual can opener
- local maps
- cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
They also recommend considering adding the following items to your kit based on your individual needs:
- hand sanitizer
- disinfecting wipes
- non-prescription medications
- prescription eyeglasses and contact lens solution
- infant supplies
- pet food and supplies
- cash or traveler’s checks
- sleeping bags or warm blankets
- complete change of clothing
- fire extinguisher
- personal hygiene items
- mess kits
- paper and pencil
- books, games and activities for children
When it comes to maintaining your kit, they say to keep canned food in a cool, dry location, store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers, replace expired items as needed and remember to re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s need change.
Since you do not know where you will be when an emergency occurs, prepare supplies for home, work and cars.
Another thing you can do, Rutt said, is to test all of your batteries in your electronic devices, especially your NOAA weather radio. Ideally, if you have a weather radio that can be powered via a crank, that is even better so you don’t have to worry about batteries as much.
Make sure that your other electronic devices are charged and ready to go, says Rutt.
“One thing to do, regardless of what kind of severe weather, is if you see that you have a pretty bad storm on the way, first and foremost, get inside,” Rutt said. “Get into a safe and sturdy building. If you’re outside, seek shelter immediately, regardless if you are just dealing with heavy rain, wind, hail, lightning or obviously the worst case scenario being tornado, first and foremost you need to find some kind of sturdy shelter before anything else.”
Whenever there is a watch or warning, even if it is not effecting you right now, Rutt says it is on of those things that you should keep in the back of your mind if meteorologist say conditions are favorable for something to happen.
KELOLAND’s Spring Doppler Special
KELOLAND’s Live Doppler HD Special for this spring and summer severe weather will be airing on Monday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m. CST.
Rutt says they will be talking about a lot of the different weather events that happen in the area. They will also be talking about what goes into the formation of severe weather events.
“It’s just kind of an opportunity for us to, you know, really be able to take a deep dive into these kinds of things, because normally in a regular newscast, we don’t have a whole lot of time to really get into the details but this gives us that chance to really tell people ‘this is what it is, this is how it happens, this is what you need to do’,” Rutt said.