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July 20, 2010 10:04 PM

Large Hail Hits Union Center

Union Center, SD


Union Center was hit hard by strong winds and golf ball sized hail yesterday afternoon. Homes were damaged and one person suffered minor injuries.


There might only be small piles of it left today, but last night the ground was covered in hail.

"Along the west side, all the siding is just pulverized and then along the north side there's just big holes in the siding," Edna Smith, a Union Center Resident, said.

Smith has lived in Union Center for ten years and this is some of the worst damage she has ever seen.

"There was a lot of damage to the Co-Op building next door here, all the windows on the west were broken out...there was one lady that was out apparently gather up horses trying to protect them and she got hurt pretty bad," Smith said.

That woman was Jamie Hockenbary. She and two of her children were on their motorcycles when they were pelted by hail for fifteen minutes.

"We got a quarter mile from the house and the rain was just coming horizontally and just hitting us really hard, we turned our backs to it and we were there for just a little bit an then I started seeing the hail hit," Hockenbary said.

Hockenbary said her son possibly saved her life.

"What Colin did is he put his head with the helmet on over the top of my head, because it didn't take very long before there was blood coming off my head," Hockenbary said.

Hockenbary ended up at the hospital with two cuts on her head and hypothermia.

Their house also took a beating from the hail, but she's thankful it wasn't much worse.

"I guess you know, if you put it in perspective everyone was ok and the house can get fixed," Hockenbary said.

Hockenbary said it only took a matter of minutes for the storm to go from a little rain, to something horrible, and that, felt like an eternity.
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