Opening day campground preps

KIMT News 3 – With rain much of the week and expected next week as well, emergency management officials say all campers should plan ahead and prepare in case of severe weather.

For campers eager to hit their area parks, a day without rain and overcast skies has been hard to come by.

“The wet cool weather usually slows down the campers a little bit. they prefer sunny weather where they can sit outside and enjoy the campfire and stuff so I’m sure they’re a little slow this opening weekend,” said Mike Webb, area conservationist.

Today’s clear forecast on the day many campgrounds open may be a sign of hope for some, but local emergency management coordinators say it’s the best time to plan for the worst.

“If there’s a tornado or severe thunderstorm, just kind of knowing what I’m going to do and talking about it with everybody in your party so that everybody’s on the same page and if the threat does come, it’s not every man or woman for themselves. If you plan beforehand and you can be a lot more successful,” said Andy Buffington, Winnebago County Emergency Management Coordinator.

In Mason City, the MacNider campgrounds feature one of very few all-weather shelters that include many amenities like showers, restrooms, changing areas, laundry facilities and a generator.

In Forest City, campgrounds saw an inch more rain then usual this April with more expected on the way.

It maybe a far cry from last year’s flash floods, but Buffington says many of these campgrounds are prepared and can at least shelter you in case of emergency.

“Regardless of who owns the campground or who runs it they should at least have somewhat of a plan so that they understand their responsibility if the weather turns bad if the water levels start to rise. What are we going to do with these people that have paid generally to stay with us for the weekend,” said Buffington.

Buffington says that ultimately it’s your responsibility to keep yourself and your family safe.

So get a good grasp of the area you’re in, so you’re not surprised in the case of severe weather.

For information on how you can reserve your spot in Iowa and Minnesota area parks, visit the link below:

http://iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com/

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/reservations.html

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