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Destructive derecho slams Midwest and Northern Plains, creating rare dust storm over Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota, U.S.

dust storm sioux falls

A fast-moving line of severe thunderstorms, known as a derecho, developed in central Nebraska on May 12, 2022, bringing hurricane-force winds and creating a rare, large wall of dust that swept over parts of Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota, creating near-zero visibility on state highways.

The storm left at least 3 people dead in its wake – one in Minnesota and 2 in South Dakota – and damaged homes and businesses in dozens of communities.

In addition, at least 5 tornadoes were reported – 2 each in South Dakota and Minnesota and 1 in Iowa.1

In South Dakota, at least 28 counties reported damage, forcing Gov. Kristi Noem to declare a state of emergency.

In addition, a destructive tornado hit Castlewood, South Dakota.

“We have had many storms before, but the amount of communities that have been affected, we just haven’t seen before,” Noem said during a news conference Friday morning.2

“Nature has a way of humbling us, of stepping into our lives with previously unthought power and reminding us what truly matters. That’s how I felt these past two days while surveying storm damage across much of South Dakota.

“We will continue to get information out to our people in the coming days. We are getting emergency resources to communities, deploying the National Guard when necessary, and working with local and federal emergency response to help folks out. There is more work to do — together we will get it done.”3

Widespread winds gusts of over 120 km/h (75 mph) were reported across the region with some areas recording gusts of more than 170 km/h (105 mph).

More than 110 000 customers were left without power across eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota at 21:15 CDT. The number dropped to about 68 000 by 10:15 CDT on May 13 and to 50 000 by 17:00 (CDT / 22:00 UTC).

Hurricane-force winds produced by the storms picked up massive amounts of dust, creating a large wall of dust that swept over parts of Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota, creating near-zero visibility on state highways.

The storm left at least 3 people dead and several injured.

A 61-year-old woman from Wentworth, South Dakota, died Friday morning of injuries sustained as a massive wall of blinding dust and debris blew into areas around Sioux Falls on Thursday.1

“In that situation, a husband and wife were driving home … and that wall cloud, or the wall of dust and dirt and debris hit them,” Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstad said at the news conference. “They slowed down to probably under 5 miles an hour [8 km/h] because of the almost zero visibility from the blowing debris, and a chunk of wood came through the window of the car.”

Another person was killed in Sioux Falls but the identity and circumstances were unknown at the time of press.

The Kandiyohi Sheriff’s Office in Minnesota said Friday morning that a man was killed by a large grain bin that blew over in Lake Lillian, about 140 km (87 miles) west of Minneapolis.


1 SPC reports for May 12, 2022

2 Three Dead, Damage Across Dozens of Communities After Derecho Slams Midwest, Northern Plains – The Weather Channel – May 13, 2022

3 South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem press release – May 13, 2022

Featured image credit: NWS Sioux Falls


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One Comment

  1. Noem is a Global Climate Change Denier. Her downplaying a Multi-Billion Dollar destructive derecho once a year as “just another storm” is part of the playbook.

    Typical mid westerner had never heard of a derecho a decade a go. Just another storm to the Republican liars.

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