City of Sioux Falls Responds to Tornado Damage

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.-Folks around the Sioux Falls area woke up this morning to debris and destruction left behind by last night’s storm. According to the National Weather Service, three tornadoes hit the city’s south side around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. One of them crossed over 41st street, which is lined with businesses.

All around Sioux Falls there’s damage to trees, property and homes along with downed power lines. 

“The main area of damage is bookmarked from Marion Road out to Cliff Avenue and from 26th street down to 85th street,” said Mark Cotter, Public Works Director for Sioux Falls. 

Mayor Paul Tenhaken has already signed an emergency declaration so the city can expedite the process of purchasing and getting equipment needed to clean up the mess. In the meantime the community has already been busy.

“Man when something like this happens, our community is extremely responsive and extremely supportive and so we’re already seeing massive cleanup efforts that are happening,” said Sioux Falls Mayor, Paul TenHaken. 

There are also around 20 crews out around town moving large trees and debris from the roads. According to the National Weather Service, three quarters of the city was impacted by severe winds up to 100 miles per hour. They’ve also concluded that at least three separate tornadoes occurred. 

Some residents are concerned because they never heard warning sirens, which go off to warn any residents who may be outside that a storm is approaching. The mayor says only sirens on the southeast side of town went off because of  “human error.” He says there was a miscommunication. 

“We already have some plans in place to rectify that going forward. Our system is not broken. It works absolutely fine, but there is a human aspect to operating the system and that’s what happened in this case,” said TenHaken. 

Now he is looking into re-designing the system.

TenHaken says he’s thankful there were no reports of fatalities or serious injuries from the storm. Now, it’s time to rebuild. 

“If the community can continue to band together and help us out, the quicker we can do that, the quicker we can get back to the new normal after this event,” said TenHaken. 

According to the National Weather Service, the last time a tornado of this magnitude hit Sioux Falls was in October of 1996.


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