UNDATED – (DRG News) Excessive wind speeds continue to be pummeling many parts of South Dakota today. A section of Highway 83 was closed by the Department of Transportation this morning about five miles north of White River. Authorities said that there were reports that winds blew two semis over in that area. Jones County Sheriff’s Deputy Rich Sylva said late this morning that a handful of semis were tipped by the winds along I-90. One was in the median east of Murdo and at least four semis were tipped over into Jackson County east of Belvidere. Sylva said all of the rigs were off the road. There were also reports of wind related semi accidents in Hughes County and elsewhere throughout the state.
Yesterday morning, winds caused the top of a wooden power pole between the Stanley County High School Building and the elementary building to snap off. The Fort Pierre Fire Department was called about 10:25 a.m. Wednesday after winds broke the top three feet of the old pole off and caused a power outage at the schools. Fire Chief Rick Cronin says the upper part of the wood pole was smoldering and a fire extinguisher was used on the pole. Fire crews were at the scene for about 45 minutes. Students were evacuated from both schools to the Parkview Gym and the day ended early at 11:30 a.m. for the HS/MS. Power was restored to the elementary school and classes were held as normal for the younger students.
In Pierre, winds have blown around loose items like garbage cans, have broken tree branches and in some cases have dropped trees to the ground. At least two trees were toppled-one on Jackson Avenue on Wednesday and another on the Hughes County Courthouse grounds this morning. Pierre Police Captain Elton Blemaster says his officers have also been called to reports of a light pole that fell on a vehicle this morning at a Pierre motel and a trailer that tipped over on 4th Street. He has also noted other minor damages around town-caused by winds. He advises motorists to be careful on roads and take proper precautions-especially if driving high profile vehicles.
Dan Mohr with the National Weather Service office in Aberdeen says wind gusts the past 24 hours have ranged from 60-80 mph. He cites some Wednesday measurements including 77 mph north of Vivian in Lyman County, 58 mph in Mobridge and reports of blowing dust east of Pierre reducing visibility down to one to two miles.
Today, wind gusts that have been noted include 64 mph in southern Hand County, 75 mph at the Onida Airport, 61 mph in Buffalo County and a 74 mph wind measurement in Pierre this morning about 3:30 p.m.
The DRG listening area is the focus of a High Wind Warning through 7:00 p.m. this evening. Tomorrow should bring a warmer today with winds dying down to 5-15 mph.
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