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State responds to tornado in Wessington Springs

WESSINGTON SPRINGS, S.D.(KELO-AM) – Gov. Dennis Daugaard ordered 100 soldiers from the South Dakota National Guard and many other state resources to help with recovery and clean-up from a tornado that hit Wessington Springs Wednesday evening.

The tornado struck the Jerauld County community about 8 p.m., damaging homes, businesses and farms. Exact extent of the damage isn’t immediately known. At this time, there are no known injuries from the tornado.

The State Emergency Operations Center, activated by Gov. Daugaard on Tuesday to respond to flooding in southeast South Dakota, is coordinating state response to the tornado.

In addition to the National Guard personnel and equipment, state resources on the scene include: 

  • South Dakota Highway Patrol troopers
  • A State Office of Emergency Management regional coordinator
  • South Dakota Department of Transportation loaders with grapple hooks
  • South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks conservation officers

 Gov. Daugaard urged citizens to stay away from the Wessington Springs area unless they have business or family there. Responders are involved in searching to make sure there are no injuries and in removing debris from streets and roads. Power lines are down in the community, and there may be broken gas lines.

The Governor said that although many people will want to volunteer to help Wessington Springs and its residents recover from the devastating storm, now is not the time to travel to that area. Information will be provided on this morning about volunteer opportunities, procedures and contact information.