Post-storm clean up and community


Abigail Gramlick

Neighborhood kids work together to haul a tree limb after the storm.

Delaney Gramlick , Staff Writer

After the derecho that struck South Dakota on Thursday, May 12, Sioux Falls was left with an intense amount of damage. Trees were left uprooted and on top of people’s homes, garages, cars, etc.; fences were blown to destruction; patio furniture was lost and most of all, spirits were down. The storm left quite the impact on the city, but Sioux Falls residents came together to help clean it all up. 

The storm that occurred in southeastern South Dakota resulted in governor Kristi Noem’s issuing of an emergency declaration and the brief shutdown of Interstate 90. The storm also forced many families to take cover in shelter, leaving their homes and not knowing how they would look when they returned. The severity of the storm, with high winds and debris, left an unprecedented amount of communities affected. More than 20,000 South Dakota residents lost power, according to Rapid City Journal. Cars, homes and other properties were destroyed by the winds or debris. 

Despite the overwhelming damage caused by the incident, South Dakota residents joined forces to clean it all up. Within hours of the storm, organizations like the 211 Helpline Center were putting together programs to help those affected by the storm. 211 arranged a program that enabled volunteers to go to homes that were struck and in need of assistance, whether help was needed removing trees that had fallen on their houses, or simply picking up scattered limbs and debris in the yard. The city also contributed, picking up large trees from the streets.  

In addition to the volunteering programs and the city’s help, neighbors could be seen helping neighbors. As with every tragedy that has struck Sioux Falls, the community was there to help support those affected. This storm was no exception; neighbors helped clear yards, families came to support their loved ones and everyone pitched in to make light work. 

This storm was one that left a lot of families struggling, left people injured, destroyed homes and is certainly one of the most severe weather experiences that South Dakota has seen. Even still, the sense of community that can so clearly be seen in the effort to fix the mess is a shining success in the midst of the hardship.