An F-1 tornado did damage to several houses near Hartford on Tornado Tuesday
After the recent tornado outbreak that destroyed much of Joplin, MO and the storm in April that killed over 300 people in Alabama, I've had a lot of people ask if something similar could happen in Sioux Falls.
The answer: ABSOLUTELY! It could happen in Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, Watertown, Marshall or anywhere else in the upper Midwest.
Sioux Falls has never been directly hit by a major tornado, however, we've had some close calls. Here are some notable examples:
On June 24, 2003 (AKA Tornado Tuesday), a tornado did damage to several homes in the Hartford Heights neighborhood.
On June 12, 2001, a brief F-0 tornado touched down near 26th and Minnesota in Sioux Falls. There was some minimal damage to trees in the area.
On June 27, 2001, an F-0 tornado touched down east of Wild Water West and moved northeast, lifting just before it hit a residential area on the west side of Sioux Falls. That storm did damage a few buildings.
On October 29, 1996, a brief F-0 tornado touched down in central Sioux Falls south of 33rd Street between Phillips and Cliff Avenue.
On June 7, 1993, a large tornado touched down in northwest Minnehaha county and stayed on the ground 55 miles through Moody and into Brookings county. It damaged many homes and farms, including fifteen homes in Coleman.
On July 17, 1989, a brief tornado touched down on the southwest side of Sioux Falls causing damage to about twenty homes (extensive damage to at least six of those homes) over a three block area. One person was injured but no one was killed.
On July 11, 1987, Dell Rapids had a VERY close call. A tornado touched down near Dell Rapids, cutting a five-mile long path, just barely missing the city.
On June 22, 1964 at 1:45am, an F-2 tornado touched down west of Sioux Falls, creating a ten mile long damage path. Back then, it was mostly farmland. If a tornado were to take the same path today, thousands of homes and businesses from 41st and Sertoma north northeast to and across I-90 would be damaged or destroyed. The tornado went right over where Memorial Middle School and Discovery Elementary School are located today.
On August 8, 1956, an F-2 tornado touched town by the Sioux Empire Fairgrounds.
On June 19, 1954, an F-3 tornado touched down south of Sioux Falls and did significant damage to several farms. If a tornado were to take that same path today, many of the newer neighborhoods south of and along 69th street would be destroyed. The new USF athletic complex and homes and buildings on the south side of Prairie Green Golf Course would also be destroyed.
Tornadoes can and do strike large cities. It can and, unfortunately, probably will happen in Sioux Falls someday. It's just a matter of time. Whether it happens next month or one hundred years from now, the best way to stay alive is to be prepared. Know where to go and what to do when severe weather strikes.