On April 9th, 2013, ice covered trees, power lines, and homes across the city. In the aftermath, Sioux Falls sent out emergency responders. On Monday, city officials looked back on the storm, and what’s been going on since. 

“32 degrees, and a light mist,” Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether said. 

That’s how Mayor Mike Huether describes the beginning of what he calls the greatest weather related emergency in Sioux Falls history.

The April 9th ice storm hit so fast and hard, city officials took action within the hour of sleet falling from the sky.

“We knew that this issue was going to be significant, was going to be devastating. And we went back and made a phone call to the fire chief, called the mayor, and said it’s time. We’ve got to open up the Emergency Operations Center,” Director of Public Works Mark Cotter said. 

“Blocked roads. Extended power outage to our community. School closures. So really just about everybody in the community was impacted in some way,” Regan Smith, Emergency Manager said. 

And the landscape of the city was dramatically altered. More than 900 trees and 25,000 branches were removed during Operation Timber Strike, after the storm.

“When everybody drove by our McKennan Park or any of the other parks that are heavily wooded, you thought how are we ever going to recover from this? It looked like a bomb went off,” Parks and Recreation Director Don Kearney said.

Now, about 1,800 trees have been planted in the city parks. This is just one of many steps still going on to recover from the late season storm that changed the city.

“I’ll never forget it. I was so dang proud of you then, Sioux Falls and I’m dang proud of you now,” Huether said. 

The total cost of response and recovery from the storm is 8 million dollars. FEMA reimbursed the city 6 million.