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Wessington Springs Mayor: 'It's Devastating'

June 19, 2014, 11:46 AM

Wessington Springs Mayor: 'It's Devastating'
WESSINGTON SPRINGS, SD -

The mayor says the damage is devastating in Wessington Springs following a tornado.

The twister that hit the town was an EF-2 with a two mile long path that was 30 yards wide, according to the National Weather Service.  Between 7:35 and 8:11 p.m., the peak wind reported was 127 miles per hour.

View more damage photos from Wessington Springs

Structural engineers are in Wessington Springs to assess damage to homes and businesses.  Their first task will be to determine which structures are stable. 

During an update at 11 a.m., officials say the number of homes that are inhabitable is higher than the initial count.  In addition, there is severe damage to many others. Three businesses are leveled.  

Everyone credits the early emergency response for why there weren't any deaths or more people hurt.  The one person was who hurt has been released from the hospital.

Restoring utilities is a top priority for the town, especially along Main Street.  Electrical crews are coming in from surrounding areas to restore power and they hope to have power back on in the western half of town on Thursday.

Efforts are underway to get home and business owners to their property so that they can get out any belongings. 

More than 150 National Guard members are on the ground or on the way to the town to help with cleanup.  Ten 10-ton dump trucks are lined up to clear debris.  The mayor says residents and family members will do early cleanup.  She says the earliest volunteers would be needed to help with debris would be Saturday.

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