NewsApril 08 2013
PIERRE, S.D. – Officials are cautioning travelers that a spring storm making its way into the state will bring periods of freezing rain, heavy snowfall, and extremely high winds across much of South Dakota from Monday evening through Wednesday morning.
Officials are encouraging motorists to move up travel plans to reach intended destinations during daylight hours and be prepared to stay until the storm passes through the state.
The National Weather Service has said freezing rain, heavy snowfall from three to 16 inches, and winds from 25 to 40 mph, with higher gusts, can be expected for much of western and central South Dakota. Other areas of the state will see lesser accumulations and strong winds.
This weather combination will create difficult driving conditions with snow-packed and slippery roadways, near-zero visibility at times, and heavy drifting, especially during the overnight hours. “Spring storms are not unusual, but they can be very dangerous,” said Greg Fuller, director of operations for the Department of Transportation.
”This storm has the potential to bring heavy, wet snowfall and strong winds to much of South Dakota. Travel will be very difficult at times.’’ Fuller encourages motorists to get to their destinations before dark on Monday or delay their travel. Those who must travel should visit www.safetravelusa.com/sd or call 511 to check the latest road conditions and travel advisories before venturing out.
Travelers are reminded that SDDOT crews will plow until early evening hours as conditions allow. After that, winter maintenance will be suspended and will resume about 5 a.m. tomorrow morning, weather permitting.
People who must travel in affected areas of South Dakota are advised to slow down and drive with extreme caution.
If you must travel, the departments of Transportation and Public Safety recommend travelers also take the following steps.
- Wear your seatbelt
- Travel during the day
- Drive with your headlights on (not daytime running lights) so you can be seen by other motorists from the front and rear
- Use highly traveled roads and highways
- Keep family and friends informed of your travel schedule and route
- Call 511 or visit safetravelusa.com for road conditions
- Keep a winter weather survival kit in your car. The kit should include blankets, warm clothing, water, energy bars, a flashlight, a distress flag, a shovel and matches
- Travel with a charged cell phone, but don’t rely on it to get you out of a bad situation
- Change travel plans as weather conditions warrant If you do get stranded:
- Stay in your vehicle
- Run the engine and heater about 10 minutes an hour to stay warm
- When the engine is running, open a window slightly to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Periodically clearing snow from the exhaust pipe will also help prevent carbon monoxide buildup
- When it’s dark outside, turn on the interior light so rescuers can see you
- Put up a distress flag, or spread a large colored cloth on the ground to attract attention from rescuers
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