Severe weather leaves widespread destruction across eastern South Dakota

News StaffMay 13, 2022News
courtesy photo/Governor's OfficeThe gym in Castlewood was severely damaged by storms Thursday.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – A severe storm system tore through central and eastern South Dakota on Thursday afternoon and Thursday night, damaging buildings and vehicles, downing trees and power lines, and leaving people stranded in their vehicles as dust storms rolled across the region.

One fatality occurred in Sioux Falls as a result of the storm. A nursing home in Salem was destroyed, and the roof of another building was lifted.

No travel was advised in Emery due to downed power lines and other damage. Brookings reported extensive damage to trees and buildings.

One of the hardest hit communities was Castlewood, where a tornado hit the city around 6 p.m.

Aerial video shot by a drone shows dozens of homes with damage, trees snapped off or uprooted, and power lines down.

The Castlewood school has extensive damage on the roof and siding. Volunteer firefighters and police escorted people back to their homes if they weren’t damaged, just to make sure everyone was safe and accounted for.

The Brookings Health Care System says it is treating about a dozen people for injuries, some of them are critical and had to be airlifted to Sioux Falls.

The Prairie Lakes Healthcare System in Watertown says it’s treating six storm victims from Hamlin, Deuel and Codington Counties.

Hospital officials tell us their injuries range from minor to critical.

Gov. Kristi Noem was in her hometown of Castlewood on Thursday night speaking to townspeople after severe storms wreaked havoc on that community.

The governor referred to the weather event in Castlewood as a tornado. There and elsewhere, winds gusting to more than 80 miles per hour uprooted trees, damaged roofs, knocked out electricity and caused other destruction.

“We’ve got quite a few injuries across the state, and we know we have one fatality,” Noem said in a video posted to Twitter.

The governor said more information would be released Friday morning. Meanwhile, the mayor of Sioux Falls planned a press conference Friday morning to provide an update on storm damage in the state’s largest city.

East River Electric Power Cooperative reported Thursday night that up to 49 of its electrical substations and six cities served by the cooperative were without power, potentially affecting thousands of people. The cooperative was also monitoring at least 18 areas with significant power line damages.

NorthWestern Energy said Thursday night that it had reports of 200 power lines down in eastern South Dakota.