On a night when severe weather was striking parts of South Dakota, the man in charge of severe weather warnings was presenting the final in a series of Severe Weather Awareness and Storm Spotter Sessions in Huron. Previous turn-outs around the Tri-State area served by the National Weather Service have seen crowds of well over 150 people at times. The Huron session had 30 to 40 which was disappointing to see for Warning Coordinator and program presenter Todd Heitkamp…[audio:http://prprt.itmwpb.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/688/2012/05/huronspotter1.mp3|titles=huronspotter1]
Heitkamp says the complacency and disregard for weather warnings shown by some is frustrating…[audio:http://prprt.itmwpb.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/688/2012/05/huronspotter2.mp3|titles=huronspotter2]
The results of a survey done following the Joplin, Missouri tornado last year that killed 158 people, showed all Joplin residents needed more than just the initial warning from the National Weather Service to take steps to protect themselves from the storm. The survey led to an experiment using impact based warnings this summer in Kansas and Missouri, which use attention grabbing language to scare people into taking action. Heitkamp says its a step in the right direction…[audio:http://prprt.itmwpb.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/688/2012/05/huronspotter3.mp3|titles=huronspotter3]
Heitkamp had considered cancelling the session not because of the poor attendance, but because of severe weather that included tornado warnings issued for parts of Northwest Iowa. Large hail was also reported in the Salem area last night.