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Sheriff: Davison County 'unscathed;' power remains out in some area communities

Have significant damage to report? Send us pictures and your location to dailynews@mitchellrepublic.com or tag us on Twitter @dailyrepublic.

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Street lights in downtown Mitchell were out after a storm rolled through town on Thursday, May 12, 2022.
Hunter Dunteman / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — Thousands in the Mitchell area are without power Thursday evening after a major storm system swept through most of eastern South Dakota.

Representatives from Northwestern Energy reported "thousands" of their residential and commercial customers are experiencing outages at the time.

Due to the developing situation, as the storm continues to take its toll to Mitchell's north, Northwestern Energy did not provide an exact customer count. No restoration time was provided.

Central Electric Cooperative reported 689 customers without power as of 7:35 p.m., mostly in Miner County, where more than 550 customers were without power on Thursday. Around South Dakota, nearly 13,000 customers of South Dakota Rural Electric Association co-ops were without power, as of 7:40 p.m. Thursday.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, traffic lights were out in downtown Mitchell, with police directing traffic at some high-volume intersections.

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In a phone call, Davison County Sheriff Steve Harr did not report any significant damage in the county from Thursday's storm system.

"We got pretty lucky, I haven't really heard of anything," Harr said. "Mount Vernon lost power for about 45 minutes to an hour, but other than that we got through pretty unscathed."

In Aurora County, large trees were uprooted around Plankinton, a nearby chicken barn had "massive damage," and at least 12 vehicles were flipped on Interstate 90 between White Lake and Plankinton, according to county emergency officials.

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Automated weather stations reported a wind gust of 107 mph near Tripp on Thursday, May 12, 2022 as severe weather blew through eastern South Dakota.
National Weather Service graphic

Wind gusts were also a large part of the story on Thursday night, with the largest reported gust being 107 mph near Tripp at a Mesonet weather station at 5:25 p.m. Nearby, a gust of 88 mph was tallied at Scotland nearly an hour earlier.

In Tyndall, winds were estimated at 90 to 100 mph, according to a report to the National Weather Service Sioux Falls office, with tree and structural damage reported, including a Bon Homme County shop building destroyed.

Other notable gusts included 96 mph near Wentworth and 90 mph near Madison shortly after 5 p.m. Near Alexandria, a wind gust of 81 mph was reported shortly before 5 p.m., and 75 mph gusts at Lane.

Have significant damage to report? Send us pictures and your location to dailynews@mitchellrepublic.com or tag us on Twitter @dailyrepublic.

Dunteman covers general and breaking news as well as crime in the Mitchell Republic's 17-county coverage area. He grew up in Harrisburg, and has lived in South Dakota for over 20 years. He joined the Mitchell Republic in June 2021 after earning his bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He can be reached at HDunteman@MitchellRepublic.com, or on Twitter @HRDunt.
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