Extreme Weather

Dave Nicks / Via National Weather Service

A farm economist says the severe storm earlier this week was so big, it could affect the entire farm economy.

The storm was a fast-moving, straight-line windstorm. Meteorologists call it a derecho.

It started in the Dakotas on Monday. Then it picked up speed and blew all the way to Ohio. Wind speeds reached about 100 miles an hour. Farm fields were flattened.

Alex Miller / Via National Weather Service

Western South Dakotans are recovering from repeat bouts of extremely severe weather. 

Storm reports include 3-inch-diameter hail, and wind speeds above 90 miles per hour. 

National Weather Service

Seven months in to 2019 has seen near record levels of precipitation across South Dakota.  Officials say with more wet weather forecast it is likely a record-breaking year.  The increased precipitation is in line with existing climate models and experts see a trend supporting this idea.

Mike Gillispie is the service hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls. He says the southeast has seen the most extreme precipitation.


In The Moment ... April 10, 2019 Show 553 Hour 1

A late winter storm has parts of South Dakota getting significant snowfall. The wind is also an issue. Once the system has passed, flooding may come back into play.

National Weather Service meteorologists Scott Rudge (Rapid City), Steve Fleegel (Aberdeen) and Todd Heitkamp (Sioux Falls) provide up to the minute knowledge.


In The Moment ... April 1, 2019 Show 547 Hour 2

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation in South Dakota continues to deal with cleanup as the result of flooding. Tribal Chairman Harold Frazier returns to In The Moment to provide and update on current conditions.

Nick Hubbard

In The Moment ... March 27, 2019 Show 544 Hour 1

In rural Iowa, a 700-acre certified organic farm dedicated to sustainable agricultrure serves as a model for community-based food systems around the world. The operation is run by Ron Rosmann, his wife and their three sons.

Rosmann was the Morning Fill Up guest at The Garage in Rapid City Wednesday morning, a presentation of the Numad Group. Rosmann visits about extreme weather conditions and the changing realities of agriculture in America.

To hear the Morning Fill Up conversation with Ron Rosmann, click play below.

Adria Botella

In The Moment ... February 13, 2019 Show 515 Hour 2

Has the extreme South Dakota winter weather killed off the emerald ash borers? How soon can we start planning for Spring?

Today we welcomed Erik Helland, owner and president of Landscape Garden Centers in Sioux Falls.

We also welcomed Dan Wegener, arborist for Landscape Garden Centers.

SDPB/Chris Laughery

In The Moment  ... January 29, 2019 Show 504 Hour 1

Frigid temperatures and dangerous wind chills have added risks for those who must spend time outside.

In South Dakota that includes farmers, ranchers and their livestock. SDPB's Heather Benson is one of those farmers impacted by the late January cold and she joins In The Moment.

Why Is It So Cold?

Jan 29, 2019
National Weather Service

In The Moment  ... January 29, 2019 Show 504 Hour 1

"Life threatening" weather is in the forecast over the next couple of days. Air temperatures of almost 40-degrees below zero are predicted for northeast South Dakota and wind chill warnings cover a large part of the state.

Meteorologist Todd Heitkamp joins In The Moment to explain how these weather extremes happen.

Nate Wek's Weekly Sports & Rec Update

Apr 18, 2018
Chris Laughery

In The Moment ... April 18, 2018 Show 318 Hour 1

How is the recent string of winter-like weather affecting spring athletics in South Dakota?  SDPB's Nate Wek looks into the world of postponements, cancellations and how disappointed student athletes are trying to persevere.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

People in Delmont are marking the anniversary of a tornado that tore through the tiny town. The storm struck mid-morning on May 10, 2015. No one died, but several people were hurt, and the storm brought widespread damage to the southeast South Dakota community. Some residents are still rebuilding while others have left for good. 

One year ago, crews used machines to shove massive piles of broken boards, downed trees, and debris off the streets of Delmont. A tornado toppled cars, shattered windows, and decimated city landmarks.


A weather expert says straight-lined winds of 90 to 100 miles per hour struck the southeast South Dakota town of Garretson. The water is safe, but crews are working on restoring power. Todd Heitkamp with the National Weather Service says the damage indicates strong winds moved in one direction. He says Monday morning’s storm was not a tornado. Heitkamp says winds that high are dangerous and the damage in Garretson is proof.

Strong straight-line winds tore through Garretson early Monday morning. Fire Chief JR Hofer says about 30 people are displaced after the storm.

People who want to volunteer to clean up after a weekend tornado in Delmont can start Friday. Officials now have a volunteer reception centers that opens at 8 o-clock in the morning near the baseball field just outside of the small southeastern South Dakota town.

Volunteers must register with a valid ID before can enter Delmont to help. Authorities say volunteers should wear clothes, boots, gloves and eye protection for working with debris from Sunday’s storm.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The mayor of Delmont says she doesn’t know what the future holds for the small town. A tornado ripped through the southeastern South Dakota community Sunday, and community members are just starting to tackle cleanup. Below are a series of reports from the southeast South Dakota town of about 200 residents.

Past the quiet area where law enforcement officials guard the entrance to town, Delmont is a noisy place. National Guard troops use bobcats and dump trucks to clear branches and brush off the streets.

People in the town of Delmont are now able to sift through the rubble after a tornado. The storm struck the tiny town in southeast South Dakota on Sunday morning. Crews are working to restore basic necessities and assess the damage.  

Initial assessments after Sunday’s storm show 20 buildings sustained damage after an EF-2 tornado tore through Delmont. Kristi Turman is the Division Director of Emergency Services for South Dakota’s Department of Public Safety.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Officials are coordinating ways for people to help residents of Wessington Springs after last week’s devastating tornado. People who can help with general debris cleanup can register at a volunteer reception center. It’s at the Wessington Springs Elementary School. Registration starts at 8 a.m.

The American Red Cross is serving three meals each day for residents and people helping pick up after the tornado. Volunteer leader Nancy Young says the organization has served more than 4,000 meals and handed out over 11,200 bottles of water since Wednesday’s storm.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Frigid temperatures pose threats not only for people who brave the elements but also for basic infrastructure. A utility manager for Sioux Falls says water main breaks are below average this year, but the extremely low temperatures could create more problems for crews. 

The problem with water main breaks is that no one can predict where they’re going to happen or when the huge water pipes will rupture. Trent Lubbers with the city of Sioux Falls says engineers account for changes in weather, but sometimes mother nature wins.

Hot summer weather is taking its toll on most people in South Dakota, but it’s especially true for students. From preschoolers to college students, the high temperatures and thick humidity are prompting administrators to examine how best to keep kids healthy and hydrated.

Droplets of water catch the early evening sun’s rays as sprinklers launch them into the air. The beads cling to blades of grass and slide into the soil. Some drops shatter on the pavement. It’s a charming scene suddenly interrupted by baritones.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

The season of spring comes with notions of new green plants peeking through the soil and warm sunshine. South Dakota’s first full month of spring this year was far from that picturesque mirage. The snowy weather and cold temperatures in some places were unprecedented. April offered some standout statistics, and some other weather elements that seem extreme but are really just average.

April showers bring May flowers, but what do April ice and wind and snow storms bring? According to weather experts, all-time records. Let’s start in Rapid City.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

More snow is slowing the cleanup effort in Sioux Falls since a vicious ice storm and inches of snow broke thousands of trees. The city declared a state of emergency and is using public and private resources in the recovery effort.

Sioux Falls Public Works Director Mark Cotter says the governor is making some state resources available, including the Bear Mountain Hand Crew. It’s made up of trained saw teams out of Custer.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Sioux Falls has already closed schools for the rest of the week. Partners in Sioux Falls’ Emergency Operations Center say now is the most dangerous part of this spring’s extreme winter weather.

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue Chief Jim Sideras says he’s concerned people are going to rush cleanup despite heavy snow, slick ice and fierce wind gusts.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

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. 

Extreme Weather Hits Insurance Companies

Oct 14, 2012

Does it seem like there has been more extreme weather lately?   The Insurance Industry says yes.  Industry regulators say the payout on claims for wind and hail damage to homes and businesses in South Dakota has increased in recent years – so much so that some premiums are going up.  SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray found out that the insurance industry is reevaluating its risks due to extreme weather.