Sunday storms ravage Pine Ridge and Gillette

PINE RIDGE, S.D. — Severe weather ravaged areas in eastern Wyoming and southwestern South Dakota on Sunday evening, with wind gusts up to 86 mph recorded in Pine Ridge and flooding and large hail pummeling Gillette.

You can view photos from the storms in both Gillette and Pine Ridge submitted from viewers below.

Storms peaked in Gillette around 6:45 p.m. with wind gusts up to 77 mph recorded and torrential rainfall that overwhelmed drainage and led to flooding. Quarter sized hail was also reported, along with downed trees, power poles and damage to homes and other structures.

Widespread power outages impacted the town as the storm rolled through, with authorities warning residents to stay off the roads and avoid the downtown area due to downed power lines impacting traffic lights and flooding. According to city officials, power was restored to about 99 percent of residents at around 8:20 p.m.

The City of Gillette says the city weather station at the Wastewater facility recorded 0.84 inches of precipitation during the event. It’s currently working with locals impacted by the storm to dispose of fallen trees and other debris. Officials say anyone that’s able to remove tree debris themselves can bring it to the Yard Waste Disposal facility for free, as charges may apply for attempting to dispose of it at the landfill.

In Pine Ridge, where an 86 mph wind gust was recorded at around 10 p.m., trees and power lines were also knocked down leading to power outages that are continuing to impact the community Monday.

According to OST President Julian Bear Runner, power was knocked out to parts of western Pine Ridge and Fraggle Rock neighborhood. Bear Runner says power lines were also down along the street of the Pine Ridge School teachers housing, and that many of the structures impacted by the storm are occupied by elderly residents.

“Many communities, homes and offices were devastated by the extreme winds and rain (some areas with hail), to which trees and debris have littered many places. Many of these places are occupied with elderly,” said Bear Runner in a memorandum.

Power was purposely shut down in the Pine Ridge area from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday so crews could safely work, and according to the Nebraska Public Power District, there are still a number of outages as of 3:20 p.m. Monday, with restoration expected by 6:30 p.m.

Bear Runner requested that tribal employees go out and help with clean-up efforts during the mandatory power outage Monday afternoon.

OST Emergency Management says crews are working to clear debris, but officials are asking anyone with debris on or close to power lines contact Nebraska Public Power or Lacreek Electric to have the lines serviced or limbs removed before clean-up crews arrive so that they can safely work. You can find more information here.

If you need assistance, you can also call Oglala Sioux Emergency Management at 605-867-5011.

Categories: Local News, National News, South Dakota News