SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Six months ago this week city and community members were cleaning up after three EF-2 tornadoes touched down in Sioux Falls. Now a half of a year later, plenty of work has been done to get the city back to normal.
Businesses, homes, medical facilities and trees were all in the path of the three tornadoes that devastated Sioux Falls last year.
Mayor Paul TenHaken says thanks to hard work from city employees and community volunteers, a lot of the cleanup work went quickly.
“We had almost 800 people volunteer, put in about 4,300 volunteer hours to help neighbors, these are people who weren’t affected by the tornadoes and called the Helpline Center, so that’s a really tremendous response,” Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said.
However, some areas of town still show remnants of what the storm left behind, including tree debris.
“I think specifically over by our park shop around 49th Street there are still a lot of trees that are down there, they haven’t been a priority, it’s kind of the cobblers kids have no shoes, those are our trees in our yard so there’s some spots like that still around town,” TenHaken said.
Mayor TenHaken says there are lessons learned from disasters like this.
“The good news is every time there is something that we can get better and we can improve on, whether that’s in communication, our disaster response plan, how we set up our emergency operation center,” TenHaken said.
But in the end he is happy with how everyone came together to help.
“Neighbors unite, businesses unite and that’s what we saw and that’s probably why six months later our city looks like it does now,” TenHaken said.
TenHaken says there are still some businesses affected by the tornadoes that are working on reopening later this year. He adds the city continues to monitor spring flooding.