Eastern South Dakota hit hard with the Wall of Wind

SOUTH DAKOTA(KMIT & KJJQ)- A squall line of powerful storms battered Eastern South Dakota Thursday

Meteorologist Ray Miller of Weatherology talks about the town of Castlewood was hit by a tornado and suffered extensive damage.

Miller discuss the line of storms ranging from North Dakota all the way down to Kansas border.

Damage is widespread in Brookings with several injuries reported.

Brookings County Sheriff Marty Stanwick says this storm is the worst he’s seen — largely because it’s so widespread.

Stanwick says power outages were reported throughout the county.

The Brookings County Sheriff’s Office took numerous reports of destroyed or damaged buildings, downed power lines and vehicle collisions. There were also several reports of livestock being injured, displaced or
killed. Many vehicles were destroyed or damaged including campers, semis and other large vehicles which had either rolled or been tipped onto their sides in the high winds.

Hill says he does not yet know the extent of injuries in the County. He says they’re starting the damage assessment this morning.

Mathew Meyer is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls. He says the extreme winds were widespread.

He says such a huge and devastating squall line is very rare.

Law enforcement officials urge people to stay home as much as possible to day and let cleanup crews do their jobs.

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. Myers says Madison was one of the hardest hit areas.

He says several areas were hit by strong winds.

There were reports of tornadoes in Salem, near Howard, and outside of Alexandria.  Myers says those have not yet been confirmed, and crews will be out assessing today.  One town where a tornado was confirmed was Castlewood, which is Governor Kristi Noem’s hometown.  The governor visited the area last night.  Tripp reported a wind gust of 107 MPH.  Madison had a gust of 97 MPH, and Huron had a top gust of 90 MPH.

Today, Gov. Kristi Noem issued a State of Emergency and ordered state personnel and resources to communities impacted by the damaging storms that occurred Thursday in eastern South Dakota.

The Department of Public Safety’s Office of Emergency Management has opened an Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the response with local government authorities.