Tornado hits Sioux Falls, South Dakota, causes 'significant damage' to dozens of buildings

A hospital was among the buildings damaged by the twister that tore through the city.

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By Phil Helsel

A tornado struck Sioux Falls, South Dakota, late Tuesday, causing significant damage to around 37 buildings and power losses to thousands of households and businesses, officials said.

The twister struck around 11:30 p.m., according to the National Weather Service, reaching winds of 100 miles per hour.

No fatalities or serious injuries were reported as of early Wednesday. Officials say they would know more once they assess damage after sunrise.

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Sioux Falls officials are also investigating why sirens did not sound throughout the city during the tornado as they should have.

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Residents were asked not to travel Tuesday night because of downed power lines and trees, and Mayor Paul TenHaken shared a photo of a devastated auto-parts store, along with a tweet stating, “there is significant structural damage like this across our city.”

“Please stay off the roads — there’s a lot of people that either are still on the roads who didn’t get off in time for the storm or are back on to see the damage,” TenHaken said in a video from an emergency operations center.

The Argus Leader newspaper of Sioux Falls reported that the tornado ripped off part of the roof of Avera Heart Hospital, and the mayor confirmed in a press conference Wednesday morning the hospital had significant damage.

He said at least four people had been displaced by the storm, adding that the local Red Cross had opened a temporary shelter at the armory.

The tornado hit as strong thunderstorms moved through.

Utility company Xcel Energy said on its website that around 7,600 customers in the area were without power early Wednesday.

Ben Kesslen contributed.