In the wake of tornadoes, Sioux Falls now prepares for possible flooding

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - As crews work to clean up damage left behind by three destructive tornadoes, Sioux Falls officials say the city may next have to deal with flooding.

In a special briefing Thursday morning, National Weather Service Meteorologist Todd Heitkamp said recent rains are causing rivers in the area to swell. He said people whose homes flooded in March, particularly those along the Big Sioux River and Skunk River, need to be prepared for possible flooding.

Heitkamp said other communities in the area, including Dell Rapids and Baltic, should also prepare for flooding.

Public Works Director Mark Cotter said flooding could potentially impact the clean up effort. He asked anyone with debris near rivers or areas likely to flood to remove it.

Mayor Paul TenHaken asked anyone with heavy equipment or tools to volunteer with the clean up effort. Anyone interested one can call 211.

TenHaken also again advised people to be on the look out for scammers.

Heitkamp also again addressed the problem with the city's siren system that arose during the storm. He reiterated that the system is only designed to warn people outdoors. In addition, he said people will only get cell phone warnings if the weather warning is in your area.

Three tornadoes struck the city late Tuesday night, leaving many businesses and homes badly damaged. Several businesses in the Plaza 41 strip mall were gutted by one of the tornadoes. Tree branches, broken commercial signs and other debris litter the ground outside.