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High winds again - Chamberlain records 64 mph wind gust

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High winds again - Chamberlain records 64 mph wind gust
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

Strong winds slammed the region Sunday, causing structural damage to at least one Mitchell business and sending vehicles off roads.

According to Brad Adams, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, Chamberlain had the strongest wind gust in the eastern half of the state Sunday at 64 mph. Lake Andes had a wind gust of 63 mph, while Mitchell and Parkston each recorded gusts of 56 mph.

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“Typically, it’s common to get 50, 60 and 70 mph wind gusts at this time of year, especially when there’s arctic air behind it,” Adams said.

The windy conditions smashed in four garage doors at the Graphic Packaging plant in Mitchell and lifted a portion of the roof off its building, said Mitchell plant manager Jim Dice.

Dice said a 150-foot-by-30-foot section of the roof was peeled off from above the indoor loading and unloading dock, but the plant was still operating after the damage.

“It’s kind of a mess out there, but we’ll get it cleaned up as soon as we can,” said Dice, who was uncertain the total cost of the damage.

South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Mark Nelson said a 1998 Dodge Ram 3500 pulling a boat went into the ditch Sunday near Interstate 90’s Riverside Road exit, east of Mitchell. The driver, from Washington, was in the eastbound lane and lost control of his vehicle because of wind and an ice patch.

The pickup entered the median, crossed over the westbound lanes and went into the north ditch. Nelson said the boat came off its trailer, and he estimated there was a total of $5,000 in damage to the truck and boat combined.

Sanborn County Sheriff Tom Fridley said he responded to “a couple accidents with cars going in the ditch” but reported no injuries. Fridley said the accidents occurred mainly when patches blowing snow emerged, and most of the drivers of the vehicles were able to get out of the ditch on their own.

Adams said there weren’t many areas that had measureable amounts snow in the region over the weekend. From Saturday evening to about 5 p.m. Sunday, Mitchell received a trace of snow.

The brisk northwest winds are expected to decrease today at 10 to 20 mph, but have gusts up to 30 mph. The high temperature for the day is expected to be 2 degrees, with the wind chill hitting 29 below zero.

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