PHOTOS: Tornado hits Sioux Falls –

PHOTOS: Tornado hits Sioux Falls -

Confirmed tornado hits southern Sioux Falls

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A tornado moving through southeast South Dakota tore through Sioux Falls, downing powerlines and causing multiple structural collapses in the area, officials say.

The tornado touched down near Western Avenue and 85th Street, according to Philip Schumacher, science and operations officer with NWS. The tornado touched down at 11:41 p.m.

Although the tornado warning has expired in Sioux Falls, the flash flood warning is still active in the area, Schumacher said. Damage reports are preliminary, but the NWS could confirm that some damage was caused by the tornado moving through Sioux Falls.

“We dont know how far the tornado tracked. We will go out tomorrow morning after daylight to assess that,” Schumacher said. “There are trees down and at least damage to some homes are damaged as well. People are trapped in their homes, but we havent had any injuries reported so far.”

There have not been any closures or cancellations for schools in the Sioux Falls area yet, and there is no damage reported a schools either. Two flights were diverted from the Joe Foss Regional Airport, according to officials.

Gusts reached 62 mph at the Sioux Falls airport, Schumacher said. But thats an estimate, since NWSs equipment stopped working at the hight of the storm.

The fire department is focused on the area south of 41st Street from Western Avenue to Minnesota Avenue for damage.

Crews responded to a handful of structure collapses and torn off roofs in Sioux Falls — some of them have been rescues for people trapped under the structural collapses. Downed powerlines and trees are preventing emergency responder traffic in much of south Sioux Falls, according to scanner traffic.

Mayor Paul TenHaken said Metro Communications is at capacity and is using a rollover back up system to handle the amount of calls coming in right now as a result of the tornado.

“We have significant damage across our city from the storm,” TenHaken said. “Not only a lot of structural damage, a lot of impassable roads and a huge power outages. So, on my way coming down here, there are way too many people out here on the roads. You need to stay home. Please, please, please do not go out on the roads right now. Its too dangerous without any lights, without any electricity and all the downed trees.”

The tornado ripped off part of the Avera Heart Hospitals roof and caused significant damage to the building. Staff told the Argus Leader there were no immediate reports of injuries. Avera Behavioral Health also reported damage. Security staff said patients are in safe conditions and volunteers are helping at the scene.

18,418 customers are without power because of the damage, according to Xcel Energy. More than 322 outages have been reported. There is no restoration time set yet.

A tornado warning was also issued for areas northeast of Sioux Falls, including Garretson until 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Sioux Falls is under a tornado warning until midnight, according to the National Weather Serivce in Sioux Falls. The area is also under a flash flood warning until 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

There have been reports of power outages in south Sioux Falls, according to scanner traffic. Wind gusts from the storm are coming in at about 80 mph, according to scanner traffic, paired with heavy rain and lightning.

A radar indicated rotation and severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was detected near Canistota around 10:53 p.m., according to NWS. A tornado warning has been issued for southwestern Minnehaha County, southeastern McCook County and north central Turner County until 11:30 p.m. The storm is moving east at 30 mph.

A severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was detected over Chancellor and moving east at 45 mph. A tornado warning has been issued for part of Lincoln County, including Canton, Harrisburg and Tea until 11:30 p.m. The storm will be near Tea and Lennox around 11:15 p.m., according to NWS.

The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls confirmed there was one tornado that touched down in south central South Dakota on Tuesday night. Another tornado was indicated on the radar around 10 p.m. over Clayton, about 15 miles east of Parkston.

Posted in Sioux Falls