As the Rapid City area continues to come close to breaking the all-time record for annual precipitation and with the freezing temperatures this week, city leaders say residents should be prepared for what the region can expect for winter weather in the coming months.
Back in October 2013, Rapid City was taken by surprise by Winter Storm Atlas, a historic blizzard that paralyzed the area with up to four feet of snow, high wind and ice.
In a news release, Rapid City Fire Chief Rod Seals said residents and visitors should be weather aware as autumn turns to winter.
“When advisories are issued, like ‘no travel advised,’ please heed the warning for your own safety and of those that count on you,” Seals said. “If you don’t need to go out, please don’t. If you must travel, be prepared. A winter travel kit in your vehicle can come in handy even if you are traveling in and around the city.”
Pennington County Emergency Management said a winter travel kit should include items that could help if travelers become stranded.
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“You should carry a winter storm kit in your vehicle. The kit should contain sleeping bags or blankets, matches and candles, winter clothing, food, a first-aid kit, pocket knife, flashlight and radio with extra batteries for each, a bag of sand and shovel, tire chains and tools, windshield scraper, battery jumper cables, and two coffee cans,” PCEM said in a news release. “Small supplies can be kept in the coffee cans and when you are stranded, one can be used for personal sanitation needs and the other to burn the candles in for heat. When burning a candle, leave a down-wind window slightly open for air circulation and ventilation. Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen without the victim being aware of it until it's too late.”
The city of Rapid City also encourages residents to receive "Public Warning Messages" that will provide the public with critical information quickly in a variety of situations including life-threatening, rapid-developing, severe weather warnings (such as a tornado or flash flood), evacuation notices, hazardous chemical leaks, civil disturbance activity and more. Sign up at www.pennco.org/pubwarnmsg.
For the closure of city offices or alerts regarding downtown snow removal, the city will contact local media utilizing the telephone numbers and processes each media outlet has provided. In addition, 211 Public Impact Text Alerts will be used for 'No Travel Advisory' messages to the public. Text 'AlertRC' to 85511. Visit http://www.pennco.org/pubimpact for more information.
The city's Facebook page, Twitter account and Rapid City's website will be updated with information as quickly as possible. Travel advisories and other immediate information will come from the Rapid City Police Department, Rapid City Fire Department, Rapid City Regional Airport, Pennington County Emergency Management, Rapid City Area Schools, State Department of Transportation and National Weather Service, among others.