SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — While a tornado hit Castlewood, the cause of the chaos in Sioux Falls was straight-line winds of 70 to 100 miles per hour.
Those hit hard in the McKennan Park neighborhood, are wondering why the sirens didn’t sound.
The wind moved fast and furiously through central Sioux Falls, leaving a path of destruction in its wake.
Myron Waagmeester: I was afraid I was going to see a tornado cloud because it sounded just like a freight train.
Angela Kennecke: That’s what you always hear, it sounded just like a freight train.
Waagmeester: We’ve lived here for 30 years, have never heard anything like that.
Myron Waagmeester says he got lucky because he doesn’t have as much damage as some of his neighbors.
Kennecke: Do you think that the sirens should have been sounded?
Waagmeester: Ah, well yes, of course. Yeah, they should have been sounded, yeah. Probably what I would have done, instead of going out on my front porch and watching the storm, if the sirens had gone off and with the wind, I probably would have went in the basement. But I stayed out and watched the storm.
Sioux Falls City Officials are saying today that people shouldn’t rely on tornado sirens to head for safety.
“There’s weather radios, there’s alerts on your cell phones, there’s seeing the sky that looks like beef stew, that tells you, you should not be out right now,” Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said.
While some towns use sirens for a variety of things, from a noon-hour bell to calling out a volunteer fire department, Sioux Falls will only sound them for tornadoes and a tornado didn’t cause all this damage, even if the winds were just as strong.
“If you start to sound them too often, people start to disregard them, so this was a very unpredictable weather event. We may look at that again, but right now, the policy that we have for sounding them for tornados, it worked. We’re going to stick with that for now,” Mayor Paul TenHaken said.
When the tornado of September 11, 2019 hit Sioux Falls, the sirens didn’t go off throughout the entire city due to human error. While no one was killed in that storm, two people died in their cars in Thursday’s blast.