Trees in southeastern South Dakota are falling victim to thick coatings of ice. Freezing rain glazes over trees in Sioux Falls, and the branches are snapping under the weight of the ice.
Director of Public Works Mark Cotter says officials are prioritizing tree-related calls.
"First priority would be if a branch or tree is on a power line. Next is if it’s on a house, car and then a street. In many cases, we’re just going out there with loaders and pushing them off the street to open up the traveled lanes," Cotter says. "Ultimately once this entire system, we’ll start to work with Parks and coordinate an effort to pick up these branches."
Officials want people with tree reports to call a specific phone number instead of 911. They encourage people to dial (605)367-8255 for problems related to downed trees and branches.
Sioux Falls has opened up two drop-off sites for branches, but authorities say people should wait to clean up broken branches until it’s safer to be outside and underneath the trees.