Two people killed as powerful derecho with 100mph winds strikes in South Dakota and Minnesota

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Residents of Sioux Falls, SD survey damage after Thursday’s wind storm (AP)
Residents of Sioux Falls, SD survey damage after Thursday’s wind storm (AP)

A powerful storm has left two people dead and heavy damage in South Dakota and Minnesota.

The storm powered through the Upper Midwest on Thursday night, bringing 100 mile per hour (mph) winds and dust storms. Thousands of people lost power as a result of the weather.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem reported one fatality in the state in a video posted to Facebook. The Kandiyohi County Sheriff’s Office also reported one death from a fallen grain bin in Minnesota. Other injuries were also reported, Governor Noem said.

The National Weather Service is reporting wind speeds across the region exceeding 100mph in some areas with winds routinely exceeding 50 mph and damage to buildings and vehicles.

Two homes and a school were damaged in Castlewood, South Dakota, where Governor Noem spoke from last night. The area had reported a possible tornado.

In addition to rains and wind, the storm blew massive dust clouds across the region, often severely limiting visibility for minutes.

Photos from Sioux Falls, the state’s largest city, show downed trees and power lines lining the streets.

As of Friday morning, almost 70,000 customers were without power across South Dakota and neighbouring western Minnesota, according to poweroutage.us.

The storm was likely a “derecho,” according to the National Weather Service, which is a wide, long-lasting string of thunderstorms with high winds that can result in serious damage.

Other reports of high winds were noted in eastern Nebraska and northwest Iowa.

There isn’t currently any known link between the climate crisis and derechos, according to the National Oceanic and Atmopsheric Administration.

However, a study last year found that a warming planet could have an increasing frequency of conditions conducive to thunderstorms in many parts of the world.

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