For Immediate Release: Friday, December 27, 2019
Contact: Kristi Sandal, Public Information Officer, 605-773-3265
PIERRE, S.D. – Officials are cautioning travelers that a winter storm making its way into South Dakota starting tonight (Friday), will likely make travel nearly impossible in many areas through the weekend and in to Monday.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), freezing rain, moderate to heavy snow and winds in excess of 30 mph with gusts in excess of 50 mph will occur Friday evening thru Tuesday morning in varying degrees across the state.
Officials are encouraging motorists to move up travel plans to avoid driving during the storm system Saturday through Monday. A map of the affected area and projected snowfall totals can be found here: https://www.weather.gov/ - click on South Dakota.
Motorists should visit www.safetravelusa.com/sd, download the SDDOT 511 app or call 5-1-1 to check the latest road conditions and travel advisories before heading out. Sign up for ClearPath511 for closure notifications by text message or email.
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. the next morning, weather permitting. Motorists are reminded to give snowplows plenty of room to work and do not pass unless it is safe. The safest place is eight car lengths behind the plow, they are placing chemicals and clearing the road in front of you.
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
- 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
- Call 5-1-1 or visit safetravelusa.com for road conditions
- 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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