High winds put SD truck drivers on high alert
RAPID CITY (AP) — Recent high winds in western South Dakota have put semitrailer drivers on high alert or off the open road altogether.
The Rapid City Journal reports that wind gusts reached 68 mph on Monday and strong winds are expected through mid-week,
South Dakota Highway Patrol Lt. Jason Ketterling said at least one truck flipped Monday in Harding County near Buffalo in the northwest part of the state.
Ketterling said a mobile home came off a semitrailer Sunday near Sturgis, and two tractor-trailers also were blown off the road, and a third tipped over last week near Kadoka.
Jim Thomas, a dock foreman for Rude Transport that has offices in Rapid City and Sioux Falls, said the company's drivers stayed off the interstate on Monday
"We're not on the open road today," Thomas said.
"Hopefully, we can get rid of some of these winds," National Weather Service Meteorologist Jon Chamberlain said Monday. "The pattern has almost been locked in for the last couple days."
National Weather Service Meteorologist Eric Helgeson said Tuesday's wind gusts could reach up to 35 mph in Rapid City after calming in the overnight hours, with wind speeds expected to near 40 mph Wednesday.
Strong winds will likely keep truckers' knuckles white on the steering wheel.
"You have to be especially careful when you're driving high-profile vehicles," Chamberlain said.
Ketterling said there's no standard on when truckers are ordered off the road during high winds, other than when hauling motor homes.
"We just ask drivers to use their best judgment," he said.