Strong winds and a tornado caused widespread damage in parts of Minnesota and South Dakota, where officials said another round of severe weather during a stormy week killed three more people.
In Minnesota, a grain bin fell on a car on Thursday and killed a passenger near Blomkest, the Kandiohi County Sheriff’s Office said. And as a result of severe weather, one person died Thursday in Sioux Falls, SD, Mayor Paul Tenhaken said, but details were not released.
Also in South Dakota, Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead said 61-year-old Wendy Lepp was on her way home to Wentworth with her husband in a vehicle at around 5 p.m. Thursday when straight winds blew.
“The wall of dust and dirt and debris hit them. With almost zero visibility from the flying debris and a chunk of wood coming through the car window they probably went less than 5 mph,” Milstead said Friday at a briefing in Sioux Falls.
Officials said Lep died of injuries on Friday morning.
Earlier in the week, the storm brought damaging winds, heavy rain and some reports of tornadoes to Minnesota, where a Mexico City hurricane-chasing meteorologist died in a car accident near Worthington on Wednesday – of severe weather. Outlined the dangers of stalking. On Friday, more storms were forecast from the upper Great Lakes to the southern Great Plains that could bring destructive winds and hail.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem issued an emergency declaration and ordered state personnel and resources to affected communities. Noem said damage reports were received from 28 counties.
“We’ve had several storms before, but the number of communities that are affected right now is something we haven’t seen before in our state,” Noem said at the briefing.
The Department of Public Safety’s Office of Emergency Management has opened an Emergency Operations Center to coordinate the response with local government officials.
Winds rose above 100 mph in parts of South Dakota on Thursday. National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Heitkamp in Sioux Falls said Friday that a tornado formed around Castlewood, but damage elsewhere was caused by strong wind.
On Thursday, a nursing home in Salem, SD suffered extensive damage when part of the roof burst. Residents were evacuated. The storm cut power for thousands of customers, including the South Dakota State University campus in Brookings.
On Thursday night, Noem traveled to Castlewood, where a tornado ripped through the roof of a school and came down walls.
Irovin Funge, a student at Castlewood High School, lives across the street from the school. She said the worst of the storm lasted about 30 minutes, Argus Leader reported.
“Our table flew off our porch. It looked completely black outside,” Fung said.
Uprooted trees, branches and debris were scattered around Castlewood. Power lines were down, including on highways leading to the city.
In Stevens County, Minnesota, gusts of 70 mph winds toppled grain silos and pushed down storage sheds near Alberta. The Minnesota State Patrol closed eastbound Interstate 94 for several hours Thursday night after trucks blocked the highway.