Weekend twisters damage homes, kill SD resident

BY GEORGE PIPER | OGLALA, S.D. | June 7, 1999


bOGLALA, S.D. (June 7, 1999) -- Weekend storms battered the Dakotas with

tornadoes and wreaked havoc on much of the nation's midsection as nearly 100

twisters pounded the landscape between Friday and Sunday.

Despite the large number of twisters scattered over 10 states -- 53 alone

were reported on Sunday -- the human and physical toll was relatively light.

One person died and more than 20 were injured in Oglala, S.D., a town

located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation inhabited by the Sioux Tribe,

when up to four tornadoes rolled across Shannon County late Friday

afternoon.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency reported 29 residences destroyed and

another 56 damaged, said FEMA spokesman Dennis Lowery. The American Red

Cross set up a shelter at nearby Pine Ridge High School and established

feeding stations and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance provided $10,000 to

the Pine Ridge Presbyterian Church and Dakota Presbytery to help meet

immediate needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

About 175 South Dakota Department of Corrections inmates helped clean debris

and make emergency home repairs while FEMA damage assessment teams gather

information for a possible federal disaster declaration, Lowery added.

Some of the damage reported occurred on Saturday, when more tornadoes hit

the area -- surprising considering that Lowery noted that tornadoes are rare

in that area of South Dakota.

On Sunday, an F4 category tornado destroyed four homes and damaged several

others in Mountain, N.D., located in the state's northeast corner. The

twister crossed the southern half of the small town of 125, leaving the

northern section virtually unscathed, said Rebecca Ault, emergency

management coordinator for Pembina County. No injuries were reported.

Outside of town, the tornado completely lifted one house off its foundation

and transplanted it onto nearby trees, said Ault. Another farm saw two homes

damaged with heavy losses to the farm's grain bins and machinery.

County public works crews and survivors spent much of Monday cleaning up

debris and downed trees left in the storm's wake. The tornado is the

strongest to hit Pembina County in 20 years.

Dark skies covered much of Illinois Iowa, Minnesota, Texas and Wisconsin on

Sunday as tornadoes and high winds hit those states. Several communities

reported minor property damage and power outages, but no injuries.

Sunday culminated a weekend full of inclement weather as Florida, Georgia

and Nebraska all reported tornadoes.

Posted June 7, 1999


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