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Biggest, Worst Sioux Falls Area Tornadoes

The 'Rope' Stage Of A Tornado
(Photo by NOAA Photo Library/Getty Images)

I’ve always been a bit of a weather nerd. The climate and weather of the plains states are of special interest to me.

A spring or summer thunderstorm is an amazing event on the plains. It is at the same time beautiful and terrifying. One storm can dump a season’s worth of rain on a county. It can make the afternoon so dark the street lights come on. It can create gorgeous sunsets and clouds. But, those storms with all their beauty can unleash their power and destroy lives and property. Especially when they produce tornadoes.

Tornado, those columns of air the travel along the ground spinning at hundreds of miles an hour may often only last minutes and cover a few miles, but the places they do touch feel the full force of a hurricane.

The city of Sioux Falls straddles southern Minnehaha and northern Lincoln counties on the east edge of South Dakota. While we don’t tend to experience Oklahoma City levels of twister action, there have been some touchdown.

According to statistics from The Tornado Project, here’s a breakdown of tornado activity in Lincoln and Minnehaha counties.

Lincoln County.

  • Since 1954 there have been 49 reported tornadoes in Lincoln County.
  • The largest was an F-3 on June 19, 1954. It touched down near what is now E 77th and Piping Rock Lane in southwest Sioux Falls.
  • Since June of 1954 there have been two tornado deaths in Lincoln County. June 2, 1965 when a twister touch down near 475th Ave and 289th Street between Beresford and Worthing.  And July 14, 1970 when a touchdown happened just west of I-29 near 291st St.

Minnehaha County

  • Since August 1956 there have been 41 reported tornadoes in Minnehaha County.
  • The largest was an F-4 on June 7, 1993 which touched down northwest of Sioux Falls, and hit the town of Colton, SD. This storm was part of huge tornado outbreak on that day in June, 1993 that included two F-4s in South Dakota.
  • Since August of 1956 there have not been any reported tornado deaths in Minnehaha County.
  • On July 18, 1989 an F-1 tornado damaged some houses and the west side of Sioux Falls.

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Source: The Tornado Project

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