Tornado hits Burke, SD |

Tornado hits Burke, SD

The tornado moved Dillon Lambley's stock trailer about a block east and set it down against a house. Photo by Dillon Lambley

A tornado, combined with straight-line winds crossed the town of Burke, South Dakota the evening of Aug. 6, 2019.

Taking one of the first hits for the town was Burke Livestock Auction, located just northwest of town.

According to the Mitchell Republic, “An EF-1 tornado was on the ground for eight minutes, reaching wind speeds of 110 mph, while winds ranging from 80 to 100 mph damaged nearly every important building in the community and ruined houses and trees in the town of 600 in the south-central part of the state.”

Dillon Lambley, co-owner and auctioneer for the salebarn said there was little warning for the tornado that touched down outside of town, then traveled from the northwest part of town to the southeast corner of town.

Lambley said that as far as he knows, two people endured minor injuries, but no human or livestock lives were lost that he’s aware of.

“The severe thunderstorm warning showed us on the edge, then it moved south at the last minute and ended up going right through town,” he said of the storm that destroyed much of the school, civic center and lumberyard, along with several homes, garages, and more.

The salebarn building wasn’t damaged significantly and the steel and cement yards were all intact the following day, said Lambley.

A machine shed belonging to the auction barn was “leveled” and while the machinery inside was damaged, it all appeared to be operable, he said.

“We think everything is intact. It is dented and damaged,” said Lambley, of the bale processor and other items being stored in the shed.

The yards were nearly empty because there hadn’t been a sale the previous Saturday. A few horses remained from a horse sale, but none of them were harmed, he said.

The auction barn also lost trees, as did other areas of town. “My grandpa remembers some of those trees being there since he came here in 1967,” Lambley said.

Burke Livestock plans to hold their regular Saturday sale Aug. 10, as long as power is restored to the town by that time.

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