Living in South Dakota requires we be prepared for a wide range of conditions Mother Nature throws at us. From winter blizzards to summer severe thunderstorms, everyone must be prepared and know what to do if confronted with a weather emergency. The information provided in this section is designed to help you make good choices ranging from when is it safe to drive to when should I seek shelter from a storm.
The Department of Campus Safety monitors weather conditions and works diligently to keep the campus community informed about potential severe weather. However, it is everyone's responsibility to stay informed and alert to potential severe weather. Here are some weather-related tips and information for you.
Severe Summer Weather
A tornado or severe thunderstorm watch means that conditions are right for severe weather to develop rapidly. If a watch is issued for Minnehaha or Lincoln Counties, the following steps should be taken:
- Monitor the local emergency alert radio station, the Sioux Falls media, or the National Weather Service website.
- Students, faculty or staff working outdoors should consider moving inside the closest building with safe areas.
- Students, faculty or staff working indoors should close windows and blinds and be ready to move to safe areas.
- Faculty with classes in session should close windows, inform students of their buildings safe areas, and be ready to relocate to those areas.
A tornado or severe thunderstorm warning means that severe weather is happening and the situation is dangerous. The Minnehaha County Emergency Management will sound sirens in the event of a tornado warning that threatens Sioux Falls, but not in the event of other severe storms. If a tornado or severe thunderstorm warning is issued for Minnehaha or Lincoln Counties, the following steps should be taken:
- Move students and staff to a safe area immediately. Safe areas include basements, tunnels, or interior hallways on the lowest floor. Avoid large, poorly supported roofs and structures such as auditoriums or gymnasiums.
- Close classroom, laboratory, or office doors, and stay away from windows.
- Remain in a safe area until the warning expires.
While you won't likely see a tornado, you might hear a siren. Minnehaha County Emergency Management has outdoor warning sirens placed strategically throughout the city as an early warning device to alert citizens of imminent severe weather. The sirens are tested at 11:00am on the first Friday of each month. If the outdoor warning sirens are heard any other time than the scheduled test days, seek shelter immediately. Also keep in mind the sirens are only activated in the event of a threat to our community. There are no all clear sirens. If the siren sounds again that means there is another threat to the community so you should remain in a safe place. Remain in a safe area until you have been told the threat is over either by local media sources or the Department of Campus Safety.
Severe Winter Weather
As a general practice, Augustana University does not close unless the health, safety, or security of University personnel and students is seriously brought into question.
In the event of winter weather that would require classes being canceled and the campus closing for a period of time, the following steps are taken to notify all faculty, staff and students:
- A Viking Alert message will be sent via text/email (previously known as the Emergency Notification System)
- Posted on the Campus Notifications web page (augie.edu/campus-notifications)
- Shared on official Augustana social media channels
- Broadcasted over Sioux Falls television stations (KELO, KDLT, and KSFY) and radio outlets (Cumulus/Results Radio and Backyard Broadcasting).
Several streets and intersections around the campus are susceptible to flooding during heavy rainfall. If you come across a street or intersection that is flooded, do not attempt to cross. Find an alternate route.