SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Todd Heitkamp has wanted to be a weatherman, for a long time.
"I had a 4th-grade teacher named Mrs. Hanson. And Mrs. Hanson recognized that I had a love for the weather even in the 4th grade, and she actually brought me over to the National Weather Service office here in Sioux Falls to introduce me to so some of the people who worked here at that point in time," Heitkamp said.
The Adrian Minnesota native even took on a big responsibility in his hometown at a young age.
"I grew up in a town in Adrian and our outdoor warning siren was right in our back yard. And honestly, I was the weather spotter for Adrian before I could actually drive, " Todd said.
It was no surprise then that after high school Todd would get a degree in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin. He's been with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls since 1994, where's he's the charge of the 14 meteorologists who work there. Which he says is a big responsibility.
"Everyone is listening to that weather forecast whether you have an activity outside or across the state traveling. Everyone is influenced by the weather so the job that we have here is very very important because the public and the media and every one depends on that forecast," Todd said.
And that responsibility becomes even more important during severe weather season. That comes from knowing what can happen, after being a tornado spotter most of his life.
"You know I've been at the scenes of many disastrous tornadoes. I've seen tornadoes from EF0 to EF5. I've seen death and believe me I never want to see that again," Todd said.
For Heitkamp, a love of fishing equals a love weather. He also owns Dakota Angler in Sioux Falls, running a fishing business with his two sons.
"There are always people that come up and talk to him and either "A" ask where the fish are biting, or "B," ask what the weather is going to be like in the next couple of weeks," said Nick Heitkamp.
"All of us have hobbies when we leave our workplace, and one of them that I enjoy doing is fishing with my family," said Todd.
Whether it's fishing, weather, or even taking part in the Minnesota Twins fantasy baseball camp, Todd Heitkamp will keep looking to the skies.
"I will continue to do it as long as the good Lord keeps me doing it. And as long as we continue to have fun, and I think that's the whole thing, we can continue to make a difference," Todd said.