Have you ever had that feeling that someone is looking over your shoulder?   That feeling that you’re being watched?

Don’t worry.   It’s just NASA.

The space agency took a view of our state recently to assess damage after fierce hailstorms pounded western and central South Dakota at the end of June.

NASA satellites are able to see the damage left by the hail storms.  It appears as a tan-looking scar that reaches over half of the state.  The hail storm was so vicious that in spots, the damage extends for six miles in width.

You may be wondering – I was – how NASA can see this damage.   According to NASA, satellites that “see” heat imaging focus in on the damaged areas because they actually show up hotter due to losing crops and other shade/cover vegetation from hail stones.

You can read the entire story here.

So what does this have to do with South Dakota 811?

It’s a stark reminder of how Mother Nature can obliterate your crops and fields in an instant.

She does quite well on her own when she has a temper tantrum.

You don’t need to provide her with any help by failing to contact 811 before you use a tiling plow, or drill, or excavate for any reason.

A ruptured gas line, a severed electrical line, damaged telecommunications or – even  worse in a state always looking for rain, a damaged water line – all of these things can have an impact on your livelihood and on our crops.

And just about all of it can be avoided by contacting South Dakota 811 first.  Having an underground utility locate completed prior to excavation reduces your risk of hitting something you shouldn’t to less than one percent.

We depend on you to get in contact with us.  Unlike NASA, we can’t look down from orbit and see if you’ve actually called in an 811 locate request.

At least, not yet….

Until next week, safe digging!

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