SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO AM) – Whether driving in your car or sitting in your home, keeping an eye on the weather is a must during South Dakota’s storm season. To error on the side of caution will help keep KELO AM/KELQ FM listeners safe from what nature throws our way.
“The problem with water, it’s going to go where it wants to go and there isn’t much we can do,” said Todd Heitkamp, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Weather Service Office. “We can only hope that dry weather over the next 24 to 48 hours will help dry things out.”
Heitkamp warns, if there is water washing over the road ahead, don’t drive through it. Cars driving through flooded areas will stall where they are. You have no idea if the road is still there and the current will take you away. It only takes 18 inches of water to make a car buoyant and that includes SUVs.
“When it comes to severe weather like in Moore, Oklahoma, what the viewers see on TV is amplified 100 times over when you are there in person,” said Heitkamp. TV pictures don’t do justice to the damage, the emotions, the smells and everything that goes with it at the scene. For example, the devastation we encountered at Spencer, SD was so much worse on the ground than on TV.”
Heitkamp said that in the event of a tornado, you have to use the best shelter you have available at the time. If there is no basement, put as many walls as you can between you and the storm as possible and get to the lowest level as possible. For example, the plumbing in your bathroom will give the walls a little more stability and that is where most people without underground shelters go.
“Get to the best shelter and get under something sturdy in case something fall on you,” said Heitkamp. “Tornados don’t kill people; it’s the flying debris that kills people. A basement or a small interior room is where people need to go to increase their chances of survival.”
Todd Heitkamp was interviewed on the Greg Belfrage show May 28, 2013.