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Outdoor Warning System Protects Residents and Visitors at Lake Poinsett


The outdoor warning system at Lake Poinsett is used to warn of all severe storms including both severe thunderstorms and tornados.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK, issues watch information for Hamlin County and local warnings are issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) out of Aberdeen, SD.

The Hamlin County Emergency Operations Center is opened and activated anytime a watch is issued and local Skywarn spotters are activated by Hamlin County.

The outdoor warning system is activated when the NWS in Aberdeen issues a warning for the Lake Poinsett area or when Hamlin County Skywarn spotters confirm that severe weather is immanent.

The system can be activated by the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) in Watertown or the Emergency Management Director or Deputy Director can activate the system with hand held radios. In addition to the spotter system, local law enforcement officers also serve as spotters to relay important weather information into the Emergency Operations Center. There are 24 trained and equipped weather spotters as well as 6 trained law enforcement officers in Hamlin County.

Because Lake Poinsett has an especially vulnerable summertime population due to the state park, campgrounds and numerous outdoor recreational opportunities, locally Hamlin County may activate the outdoor warning system before the warning comes from the NWS. The criteria for severe thunderstorms is 1 inch hail and 58 mile an hour winds or greater but based on information from local spotters, the public and law enforcement, the decision may be made to activate the outdoor warning system at any time regardless of warnings from Nation Weather Service offices in Aberdeen or Sioux Falls.

Shelters in the area include the Lake Region Golf Course, the Dakotas United Methodist Camp and some facilities within Lake Poinsett State Park.

EVERYONE should have a programmable NOAA Weather Radio in their home, camper or cabin. If anyone needs help programming a radio or has any other weather safety questions, call the Hamlin County Emergency Management Office at 605-783-7831.

*The outdoor warning system at Lake Poinsett is a cooperative project between the Lake Poinsett Association, South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks and Hamlin County. Storm sirens are tested the first and third Tuesdays of each month starting after the state wide tornado drill held on April 25th this year.

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Mailing Address: PO Box 222, Lake Norden SD, 57248

Lake Poinsett, South Dakota   |   directors@lakepoinsett.org

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