If you remember the movie Jaws – about the great white shark that terrorized an oceanfront community – you may remember that there was a sequel.   In fact, there were several sequels. (Even after the shark got blown up at the end of the first movie, but hey, that’s what counts as damage prevention in Hollywood.)

The sequel’s tag line was “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water….”

Well, that’s what we can say about South Dakota weather today.  “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in your shirt sleeves….”

Yep.  The big punch from Mother Nature.   Interstate 90 is closed from Murdo east to Mitchell, and winds with 50 mile per hour gusts are creating white out conditions across South Dakota.  State offices in thirteen counties are closed.

You can read those stories here:  and here:

The point is, you can never assume anything when it comes to South Dakota weather or South Dakota workplace safety.  It’s all subject to change.  And that includes what’s buried beneath the soil of our state.

Relying on memory because you “know” where those underground utilities are located is a big mistake.  Use the free underground utility locating services – the kind folks who will come out to mark or flag buried utilities once you make a free one-call locate request to South Dakota 811.

Calling 811 before you dig reduces the chance of line strike/cut accidents to about one percent.

And while those above ground gas pipeline warning signs are great, don’t take them at full face value, either.   Call 811 first!

It’s tough enough getting by in a blizzard in South Dakota.  Don’t make it worse by being the excavator who caused a gas or telecommunications outage by tearing through a buried line.

Like the shark in Jaws, you never know what’s lurking beneath the surface!

Until next week, safe digging!

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