Tornado strikes SD town, razing homes; only 2 hurt

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WESSINGTON SPRINGS - South Dakota Tornados
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Tornado strikes SD town, razing homes; only 2 hurt
This photo provided by Connor McCrorey shows a tornado near Alpena, S.D., about 15 miles southwest of Wessignton Springs, on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Heitkamp confirmed that a tornado touched near Alpena on Wednesday, as well as nearby in towns Woonsocket and Wessington Springs. (AP Photo/TVNweather.com, Connor McCrorey)
This photo provided by KDLT shows damaged buildings in Wessington Springs, S.D., on Wednesday, June 18, 2014. A tornado hit Wessington Springs Wednesday, damaging homes and businesses and injuring at least one person, according to the National Weather Service and a hospital spokeswoman. (AP Photo/KDLT, Brian Kirk) MANDATORY CREDIT
Map locates Wessington Springs, South Dakota
Tornado strikes South Dakota town, razing dozens of homes; 2 hurt http://t.co/17xeZxZlhI | http://t.co/eXgqz5ULmI
WATCH: A #tornado in the middle of nowhere can actually be quite beautiful: http://t.co/HsT6clEpyO #sdwx http://t.co/LsEkifIrn1
Pls keep them in your Dua's, there is said to be a tornado ripping through south Dakota. http://t.co/hPPI9sN8HC
Tornado damage in Wessington Springs, #SouthDakota. State Officials are responding. State EOC is activated. #SDwx http://t.co/1JXXuY0W3s
Wessington Springs, SD Major damage.. everyone accounted for as of right now. http://t.co/ONXCNAAuYx
Wednesday tornados leaves path of destruction in South Dakota http://t.co/dm95NEudo0 http://t.co/xiiqZhbhzO
Photo gallery:Tornado rips through South Dakota town. Thankfully, no deaths / serious injuries http://t.co/ejGoj7KaM0 http://t.co/NETO76Zufs
More #severe #storms in the Central US on Wednesday, including a tornado in South Dakota: http://t.co/iO0bAJ2kh6 http://t.co/wb5Ke3m5or
Tornado in South Dakota rips "through heart of town" (photo: Joe Ahlquist, Argus Leader/AP): http://t.co/f7fiSqMuJX http://t.co/Yd0PEqftps
Watch: a tornado tears through a small town in South Dakota http://t.co/SMVJOiZsYW http://t.co/sYLPRppMaP
DEVELOPING: Everyone is accounted for after tornado rips through a South Dakota town http://t.co/zk78fseDs2 #7News http://t.co/vq9gn8fEB3
WOW! Tornado Wednesday evening near Alpena, South Dakota. Photo: Shalyn Phillips. #Tornado #SDwx http://t.co/CX0a7Zla3k
People reportedly trapped after South Dakota tornado. http://t.co/Vtf3M9JqFV Wire: http://t.co/8VW5igTZ6n http://t.co/OKH59yZxkQ
Rope #tornado near Woonsocket, South Dakota this evening by @DjDerve. http://t.co/hiHCCzh0YQ
Very very bad situation here IN SD http://t.co/KhgnYyTrYr
Multiple tornado warnings in South Dakota right now, confirmed #tornado! http://t.co/jq0X9yO6rw
Still on tornado warned storm in South Dakota. It's trying.. @JWSevereWeather @JimCantore #sdwx http://t.co/tDbI9INOLW
Tornado warned storm in South Dakota north of Belle Fourche. @JWSevereWeather @NWSRapidCity #sdwx http://t.co/DlbOerjdGM
Tornado debris signature evident on radar south of Humboldt (west of Sioux Falls) in South Dakota. http://t.co/DBU1wJ6Cg8
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WESSINGTON SPRINGS, S.D. (AP) - A timely warning allowed an entire South Dakota city to shelter from a tornado that razed dozens of homes and businesses but injured only one or two people in the area, officials said Thursday.

Dedrich Koch, a Jerauld County prosecutor, said everyone was accounted for after the twister hit Wessington Springs just before 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Tornado alarms sounded several times, prompting residents to head to the city's emergency shelter in the basement of the courthouse, Koch said.

Charles Bergeleen, who has lived in Wessington Springs since 1981, said the twister moved over hills and through the town, missing his house by 50 feet.

"There's debris all over that (south) end of town; there's a lot of insulation, wood, siding," Bergeleen said Thursday. "I found a license plate from Texas in my yard. I guess it's from someone who was visiting the area."

Ten businesses were damaged, five of them extensively, and at least 25 of 43 houses that were damaged are uninhabitable, he said Thursday. The city has a population of about 850 residents.

"It cut right through the heart of the residential area; it just missed the hospital, nursing home and school," Koch said. The American Legion, a bar, an auto dealer and several farms were destroyed or damaged.

South Dakota Battered by Twisters


Lindsey Meyers, a spokeswoman for Avera Health, said Thursday that the only patient who was treated at the hospital in Wessington Springs in connection with the tornado has been released.

Koch said that woman and her husband suffered minor injuries when a tornado hit their home near Alpena, about 15 miles east of Wessington Springs. He had no further details and did not identify the couple.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard arrived in the city about 125 miles northwest of Sioux Falls late Wednesday. He issued a statement saying at least 100 South Dakota National Guard soldiers and equipment would be deployed to help with cleanup.

The city was without power overnight and Koch said generators would be provided. Meyers said some of the hospital's windows were broken in the storm and that the facility was operating on backup power.

The Red Cross has set up a shelter and expects to serve nearly 400 meals to displaced residents, spokesman Richard Smith said.

Father Jim Friedrich said the community was thankful that nobody was seriously hurt.

"We do see our blessings right away," said Friedrich, who's been preaching at St. Joseph's Catholic Church for eight years. "It was very serious damage. What it hit, it hit very hard. That's just why we are thankful that there was good warning."

The tornado did not strike the church.

National Weather Service meteorologist Philip Schumacher said two other tornadoes touched down; one near Lane and another near Alpena. He said another tornado touched down in Marshall, Minnesota.

Related Slideshow:

Nebraska town ravaged by tornado

30 PHOTOS
Pilger, Nebraska tornadoes
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Tornado strikes SD town, razing homes; only 2 hurt
Mary Donner pauses from salvaging her belongings to eat a quick lunch on the front porch of her home in Pilger, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Wednesday was the first day volunteers were allowed into town to help with cleanup following Monday's storm that spawned at least four tornadoes, killing two people in the Pilger area, according to the Norfolk Daily News. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly, Pool)
A worker pauses for a break from cleaning up debris in Pilger, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Wednesday was the first day volunteers were allowed into town to help with cleanup following Monday's storm, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The storm spawned at least four tornadoes, and killed two people in the Pilger area. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly, Pool)
Workers clean up debris from a property in Pilger, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Wednesday was the first day volunteers were allowed into town to help with cleanup following Monday's storm, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The storm spawned at least four tornadoes, and killed two people in the Pilger area. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly, Pool)
Workers clean up debris in Pilger, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Wednesday was the first day volunteers were allowed into town to help with cleanup following Monday's storm, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The storm spawned at least four tornadoes, and killed two people in the Pilger area. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly, Pool)
Workers and a security officer talk with a field of debris behind them in Pilger, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Wednesday was the first day volunteers were allowed into town to help with cleanup following Monday's storm, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The storm spawned at least four tornadoes, and killed two people in the Pilger area. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly, Pool)
Clayton Petersen, left), Harry Petersen, center, and Jeffery Petersen take a break to eat while helping with the cleanup effort in Pilger, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Wednesday was the first day volunteers were allowed into town to help with cleanup following Monday's storm, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The storm spawned at least four tornadoes, and killed two people in the Pilger area. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly, Pool)
Mangled vehicles sit on co-op property in Pilger, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Wednesday was the first day volunteers were allowed into town to help with cleanup following Monday's storm, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The storm spawned at least four tornadoes, and killed two people in the Pilger area. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly, Pool)
Workers clean up debris from a property in Pilger, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Wednesday was the first day volunteers were allowed into town to help with cleanup following Monday's storm, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The storm spawned at least four tornadoes, and killed two people in the Pilger area. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly, Pool)
Debra Nelson, a middle school teacher with the Omaha public schools, stands on mangled playground equipment to take a photo of the middle school in Pilger, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Wednesday was the first day volunteers were allowed into town to help with cleanup following Monday's storm, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The storm spawned at least four tornadoes, and killed two people in the Pilger area. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly, Pool)
A worker walks past the co-op in Pilger, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Wednesday was the first day volunteers were allowed into town to help with cleanup following Monday's storm, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The storm spawned at least four tornadoes, and killed two people in the Pilger area. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly, Pool)
Workers pause while working on a damaged house in Pilger, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Wednesday was the first day volunteers were allowed into town to help with cleanup following Monday's storm, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The storm spawned at least four tornadoes, and killed two people in the Pilger area. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly, Pool)
Jonathan Vesely, left, Eric Wolverton, right, and Brad Wolverton, center, search through debris that Wolverton said belonged to his aunt and uncle in Pilger, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Wednesday was the first day volunteers were allowed into town to help with cleanup following Monday's storm, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The storm spawned at least four tornadoes, and killed two people in the Pilger area. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly, Pool)
Jeanette Marx talks on her phone while helping to salvage items from a house in Pilger, Neb., Wednesday, June 18, 2014. Wednesday was the first day volunteers were allowed into town to help with cleanup following Monday's storm, according to the Norfolk Daily News. The storm spawned at least four tornadoes, and killed two people in the Pilger area. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly, Pool)
Rescue personnel tend to 5-year-old Calista Dixon in Pilger, Neb., after two giant tornados bore down on the small town on Monday, June 16, 2014. The girl later died, as did a motorist, David A. Herout, 74, of Clarkson, Neb. At least 19 people were taken to hospitals and most of the buildings in Pilger were heavily damaged or destroyed. (AP Photo/Mark 'Storm' Farnik)
A woman walks down Black Hills Trail road in Pilger, Neb., Monday, June 16, 2014. At least one person is dead and at least 16 more are in critical condition after two massive tornadoes swept through northeast Nebraska on Monday. (AP Photo/Mark 'Storm' Farnik)
This Tuesday, June 17, 2014, aerial photo, shows the devastated town of Pilger, Neb. On Monday, a storm packing rare dual tornadoes tore through the tiny farming town in northeast Nebraska, killing a 5-year-old girl, leaving grain bins crumpled like discarded soda cans and flattening dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Dakota Aerials, Dave Tunge)
The remains of the Midwest Bank stand next to rubble Tuesday, June 17, 2014, after a tornado ripped through town on Monday evening. Up to 75 percent of the buildings in Pilger were heavily damaged or destroyed. That included the grain co-op, bank, library, middle school, city offices and fire department. (AP Photo/Norfolk Daily News, Jake Wragge)
Jaime, right, and Jeff Hoadley, of Madison, Neb., look over the property next to her parents' home and St. John's Lutheran Church, where Jaime's father is pastor, in Pilger, Neb., after tornadoes moved through the area Monday, June 16, 2014. A storm packing rare dual tornadoes tore through the tiny farming town in northeast Nebraska, killing a 5-year-old girl, leaving grain bins crumpled like discarded soda cans and flattening dozens of homes. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly)
This photo taken on June 16, 2014 from atop the Wisner, Neb., grain elevator and made available on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, shows a tornado approaching Pilger, Neb. A storm packing rare dual tornadoes tore through northeast Nebraska, crumpling grain bins and flattening dozens of homes. (AP Photo/Mitch Schweers)
Clothes still hang on hangers in a closet of a home destroyed by a tornado in Pilger, Neb. on Monday, June 16, 2014. A storm packing rare dual tornadoes tore through the tiny farming town in northeast Nebraska, killing a 5-year-old girl, leaving grain bins crumpled like discarded soda cans and flattening dozens of homes. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly)
Structures in Pilger, Neb. are heavily damaged after tornadoes moved through the area on Monday, June 16, 2014. A storm packing rare dual tornadoes tore through a tiny farming town in northeast Nebraska, killing a 5-year-old girl, leaving grain bins crumpled like discarded soda cans and flattening dozens of homes. (AP Photo/The Norfolk Daily News, Darin Epperly)
Ruth Labenz is assisted to safety by a Stanton County Sherriff's officer after her home was destroyed in the town of Pilger, Neb. Monday, June 16, 2014. At least one person is dead and at least 16 more are in critical condition after two massive tornadoes swept through northeast Nebraska on Monday. (AP Photo/Mark 'Storm' Farnik)
A woman walks down Black Hills Trail road in Pilger, Neb., Monday, June 16, 2014. At least one person is dead and at least 16 more are in critical condition after two massive tornadoes swept through northeast Nebraska on Monday. (AP Photo/Mark 'Storm' Farnik)
Rescue personnel tend to a young tornado victim in Pilger, Neb., Monday, June 16, 2014. A hospital spokeswoman says at least one person is dead and at least 16 more are in critical condition after two massive tornadoes swept through northeast Nebraska. (AP Photo/Mark 'Storm' Farnik)
Two tornados approach Pilger, Neb., Monday June 16, 2014. The National Weather Service said at least two twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other Monday in northeast Nebraska. (AP Photo/Eric Anderson)
A tornado forms over a house near Pilger, Neb., Monday, June 16, 2014. At least one person is dead and at least 16 more are in critical condition after two massive tornadoes swept through northeast Nebraska on Monday. (AP Photo/Mark 'Storm' Farnik)
This framgrab taken from video provided by StormChasingVideo.com shows two tornados approaching Pilger, Neb., Monday June 16, 2014. The National Weather Service said at least two twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other Monday in northeast Nebraska. (AP Photo/StormChasingVideo.com)
Map locates Pilger, Nebraska; 1c x 2 inches; 46.5 mm x 50 mm;
A man holds a girl after she was pulled from the basement of her destroyed home in Pilger, Neb., Monday, June 16, 2014. A hospital spokeswoman says at least one person is dead and at least 16 more are in critical condition after two massive tornadoes swept through northeast Nebraska. (AP Photo/Mark 'Storm' Farnik)
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