Tornado rips through Sioux Falls, leaving trail of destruction

Kyle Elliott

Three tornadoes that hit Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Tuesday, have left residents reeling. In its wake, extensive damage from the twister has left an Advanced Auto Parts store in shambles and also caused severe damage to the Avera Heart Hospital. On Wednesday, the National Weather Service (NWS) said a preliminary survey revealed that three EF2 tornadoes had briefly touched down in Sioux Falls late Tuesday night, packing estimated winds of 125.

A tornado warning was issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) shortly after 11 p.m. CDT Tuesday evening for Sioux Falls and surrounding areas, and the warning remained in effect until midnight. The NWS warned that wind gusts of at least 90 mph were possible with the storm and urged residents to take cover.

Shortly after the storms tore through the area, there were numerous reports and photos of extensive damage to trees, cars, homes and businesses around the city.

The Avera Behavioral Health Center was evacuated after suffering damage from the storm, while the Avera Heart Hospital saw its roof get ripped off from the intense winds. While there were no reports of casualities, according to Mayor Paul TenHaken, the area's 911 system has been backed up and over 15,000 residents were left without power, according to poweroutage.us.

The Sioux Falls Police Department issued a "No Travel Advisory" in the wake of the storms due to numerous downed power lines and trees covering roadways in southeastern parts of the city.

Motorists were urged to remain off roadways until emergency management crews cleaned up the debris.

Although the threat for severe weather has ended in southeastern South Dakota with the storms having moved into Iowa, flash flood warnings remain in effect into Wednesday afternoon following several inches of rain from Tuesday night's storms.