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June 18, 2014 08:46 PM

Tornado Hits Wessington Springs

Wessington Springs, SD

UPDATE at 11:56 p.m. According to an Avera spokesperson, Lindsey Meyers, both Avera Weskota Memorial Hospital and Weskota Manor Avera sustained only minor damage when the tornado struck. Because power is out in the entire community, both facilities are currently on emergency power backup.


UPDATE AT 10:22 p.m. According to Jerauld County State's Attorney Dedrich Koch, who lives in Wessington Springs, emergency responders are calling off their cleanup for the night. It will begin again Thursday morning in the light of day.

Three businesses in Wessington Springs have been destroyed, and 11-12 homes in the community have been extensively damaged by the tornado that struck the community around 8 o'clock Wednesday night. In addition four farms in the area were also damaged in the twister. Three farms lost buildings, and on another the home was hit and a person was trapped inside. That person was extricated and taken to Avera Weskota Memorial Hospital.

The businesses destroyed include the Prairie Lounge, the Hideout Bar & Grill, and the American Legion hall.

Wessington Springs' Mayor reports that her home was also struck by the tornado. Melissa Mebius, her three small children and her husband hid in the family home under the stairs. Mebius says the community is very lucky because only one person received minor injuries.

The town remains on lockdown and only families will initially be admitted to Wessington Springs until the area can be secured.


UPDATE AT 10:00 p.m. According to Lindsey Meyers, a spokesperson for the Avera Weskota Memorial Hospital in Wessington Springs, just one person was brought to the hospital with injuries tonight. Those injuries are not life threatening and the person is listed in good condition at this hour.


UPDATE AT 9:38 p.m. According to 2010 Census figures Wessington Springs is home to 956 people. There are 465 homes in the community and 266 families.


Viewers are sending us pictures and videos as storms move through parts of South Dakota.  

2014 Summer Storm Photo Gallery

A tornado touchdown is confirmed in Wessington Springs.  Phil Wipf sent this video of the twister.


UPDATE AT 9:27 p.m. Governor Dennis Daugaard's office tells CNN, "We know there has been damage and we know that it is significant." Referring to the damage in Wessington Spring.


UPDATE AT 9:14 p.m.  Jaime Hoefert is in Wessington Springs and saw a tornado move through the town.

"We watched the tornado come over the hills of Wessington Springs and take out the Prairie Lodge for sure. The city is on lockdown right now, but the Wessington hospital is intact. We did see at least three homes destroyed with lots of structural damage around that area on the south side of town," Hoefert said.


UPDATE at 9:09 p.m.

Witness say a tornado has been reported on the ground near Cresbard, SD.


In addition, the Jerauld County Sheriff's Office confirms that a tornado has struck Wessington Springs, about 8 p.m. this evening.

According to staff at the Avera Weskota Memorial at least one person is injured. There are no reports of additional injuries at this time. Witnesses say the twister struck on the community's east side and that at least two homes, along with the Wessington Springs American Legion and the Hideout Bar & Grill have sustained damage.

A powerful storm system continues to make its way toward the northeast.


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