Tornado damages ranches in Harding County, South Dakota |

Tornado damages ranches in Harding County, South Dakota

A tornado south of Camp Crook, June 28, 2018. Video by Charlotte Ottmo.

This story will be updated as we get more information, so please check back.

Severe storms went through eastern Montana and northwestern South Dakota last night, June 28, damaging several ranch headquarters in Harding County, South Dakota, but missing the towns of Camp Crook and Buffalo, South Dakota. The National Weather Service said there were between three and five tornadoes in the area, one classified as an EF-3.

As one might expect in this situation, there is some profanity in this video, so if you prefer to not hear that, you may want to mute this.

Kathy Glines, the emergency manager for Harding County, said phone lines and internet are down, and in that area cell phone coverage is spotty at best, so they’re still trying to gather information about the extent of the damage.

“I know we had two ranch headquarters that suffered substantial damage to outbuildings and homes. Another place had substantial outbuilding damages,” Glines said. They could see the tornado from the town of Buffalo, but it was on the edge of the storm. Luckily, she said, there were no injuries to people.

“Right now, we’re in the assessment phase. People are working with insurance companies. The National Weather Service is on the way up to look at the area to determine the size of the tornadoes that touched, so we get a better feel for what we had.”

Since they’re still in the evaluation phase, she said they aren’t sure what they’ll need for help. “At this point, it’s neighbor helping neighbor. Until we hear from people about what kind of help they need I’m going to be cautious about saying we need help.”

Often tornadoes in rural areas are dismissed because they don’t cause the extent of damage to homes and buildings that occurs in more urban areas. However, as Pamela Davis posted to the KELOLAND News Facebook page, “The tornado on the ground in Harding County might be hitting rural areas, but that doesn’t mean it is [not] destroying property and threatening lives. Ranchers are losing 100’s of thousands of dollars in hay that was cut. At least one brand new shop was destroyed. I’m unimpressed that the newsman on TV dismissed it all with ‘its in a rural area’.”

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