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Storm in Hutchinson County causes power outages, tree damage

Wind, rain and hail caused power outages and tree damage late Friday evening in Hutchinson County. Hutchinson County officials said there were no reports of serious injuries or property damage due to the storm, but there was some crop damage arou...

Homeowners in Menno take branches from their yards to the Restricted Use Site in town after a storm passed through Friday night. (Selena Yakabe/Republic)
Homeowners in Menno take branches from their yards to the Restricted Use Site in town after a storm passed through Friday night. (Selena Yakabe/Republic)

Wind, rain and hail caused power outages and tree damage late Friday evening in Hutchinson County.

Hutchinson County officials said there were no reports of serious injuries or property damage due to the storm, but there was some crop damage around Menno.

Every town except Parkston and Tripp within the county had a power outage, officials said. And Menno, Freeman and Olivet appear to have been hit the hardest by the storm.

A highline pole near the intersection of 288th Avenue and Highway 81 caught fire after being struck with lightning, but was repaired around midnight.

Southeastern Electric lost at least five poles from the storm.

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"Some poles are damaged but still energized," Bob Schrag from Southeastern Energy said. "For the five poles damaged, those either snapped halfway up or the tops had blown off completely."

Officials with Northwestern Energy said seven poles were down and an additional seven needed repair.

The damage to the highline poles were due to heavy winds and tree branches falling on the lines.

Power outages in the area occurred around 9:30 p.m. and power was restored between midnight and 3 a.m. Saturday in the region covered by Southeastern Electric. But, power was not restored in Olivet until about 10:30 a.m. Schrag said his Southeastern crews were working through the night in the rain and lightning to restore power back to the communities.

Tom Glanzer from Northwestern Energy also said his crews worked through the night, trying to restore power to about 3,800 people in his area.

"It was a pretty eventful night, that's for sure. The lightning stuck around for so long, and that's a concern, too," Glanzer said. "That delayed our start in restorations as well. We care about the safety of our guys as well as getting power back as soon as possible."

The South Dakota National Weather Service reported half-dollar sized hail from the storm that lasted from about 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. Saturday. NWS did not have data for the specific area of Hutchinson County, but once the storm reached Tyndall, winds were recorded at 60 mph.

Residents of Menno reported measuring winds of 70 mph, and some even thought they saw a funnel cloud touch down. But, the National Weather Service said there was no data signaling a tornado was in the area.

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The only rain measurements for Hutchinson County were recorded around Parkston, where 0.8 inches of rain was recorded.

Hailee Anderson and Heather Sluzevich, employees of the Cenex gas station in Menno, were amazed at the intensity and damage caused by the storm.

"You could float a boat in my yard," Sluzevich said of the amount of rain received in Menno.

Anderson said the storm came quickly.

"It hit us out of nowhere," Anderson said. "I could see the clouds and I thought, 'This is going to get ugly fast.' Then 10 minutes later the wind was blowing like crazy, and I was like 'I'm going home.' "

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