/Heavy storms set to hit Plains, new storm systems develop over Atlantic

Heavy storms set to hit Plains, new storm systems develop over Atlantic


Two powerful tornadoes have left a trail of destruction in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, toppling trees, knocking out power to thousands and seriously damaging both area hospitals, officials said.

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No deaths or serious injuries were reported after the overnight twisters, Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said Wednesday morning. Thirty-seven structures collapsed or have major integrity issues, according to officials.

The Avera Behavioral Health Hospital, one of the damaged hospitals, said all patients were safe and some were moved to other facilities, according to a hospital spokesperson. Several people there suffered minor injuries from the roof collapsing, said the hospital’s president and CEO, David Flicek.

PHOTO: A tornado ripped off part of the Avera Behavioral Health Hospitals roof and caused significant damage to the buildings windows, overnight Sept. 11, 2019, in Sioux Falls, S.D.KSFY
A tornado ripped off part of the Avera Behavioral Health Hospital’s roof and caused significant damage to the building’s windows, overnight Sept. 11, 2019, in Sioux Falls, S.D.
PHOTO: An auto parts store damaged during the storm is seen in Sioux Falls, S.D., Sept. 11, 2019.Derek Thompson/Derekjt.com via Reuters
An auto parts store damaged during the storm is seen in Sioux Falls, S.D., Sept. 11, 2019.

With so much debris on the roads, a “No Travel Advisory” was issued in the city. The advisory was lifted at 8 a.m. Wednesday but police urged drivers to use caution “as there may be areas still impacted, unreported downed power lines, tree debris, or other road hazards.”

PHOTO: Debris from a violent storm litters a residential area of Sioux Falls, S.D., Sept. 11, 2019.Sioux Falls Argus Leader via USA Today Network
Debris from a violent storm litters a residential area of Sioux Falls, S.D., Sept. 11, 2019.

A total of nine tornadoes were reported in Wyoming and two in South Dakota as severe weather struck the region Tuesday night.

Two EF-2 tornadoes touched down in Sioux Falls, one at 11:24 p.m. with winds up to 130 mph, and the second around 11:30 p.m. with winds estimated at 125 mph.

PHOTO: Damage in the aftermath of storm is seen in Sioux Falls, S.D., Sept. 11, 2019.Derek Thompson/Derekjt.com via Reuters
Damage in the aftermath of storm is seen in Sioux Falls, S.D., Sept. 11, 2019.

Julie Mericle “was laying in bed watching TV and it sounded like a freight train over the house,” she told Sioux Falls ABC affiliate KSFY.

“So I got up, dashed into my closet and it felt like the roof was going to come off,” Mericle said, adding that a tree fell on her house.

The tornado warnings began at 11:00 p.m. CST, officials said. Only some of the sirens in town were activated, which the mayor attributed to human error.

Some power has been restored in the area Wednesday morning but it’s expected to take most of the day to get power back throughout the city, a community manager said.

Schools began on a two-hour delay Wednesday, the mayor said.

And the threat is not over. On Wednesday, severe weather threats are expanding east and south, now reaching from Wyoming to Wisconsin. The biggest threats will be damaging winds, huge hail and possibly tornadoes.

ABC News’ Dan Peck, Will Gretsky and Ahmad Hemingway contributed to this report.

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