Wessington Spring's Mayor Melissa Mebius says she rode out the tornado that struck her community around eight o'clock Wednesday night with her husband and three small children huddled together under the stairs of her home.
Mebius say her home took a direct hit from the twister. According to Mebius, "All the windows were shattered out. Lots of damage. A camper flew. A car flew Lots of trees were uprooted...a fence." Mebius admits the entire experience was frightening, "It was pretty scary. We were down in the basement and I have three little kids."
A home next to Mebius' was destroyed, another across the street was destroyed. At this point emergency responders have identified 11-12 homes in Wessington Springs that were damaged in the storm. Four farms in the surrounding area also received damage. On one farm the home was hit and an occupant was trapped inside until first responders were able to extricate the person. The unidentified person was taken to the Avera Wesskota Memorial Hospital, where he or she is listed in good condition. That is the only reported injury at this time.
"We were all just huddled under the stairs, just praying and telling the kids it was going to be okay," Mebius said. "Then you could hear it hit and the glass started to shatter. It was just a different feeling, you knew that it hit.
Mebius says she is grateful for the rapid response of emergency crews from the surround areas which provided law enforcement, barricades and fire trucks. The South Dakota National Guard is expected to arrive on scene Thursday morning to assist in the clean-up. "In a hard time it's nice to see all this support," Mebius said.