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Wessington Springs 'Total Devastation'

June 19, 2014, 4:08 AM by Ben Dunsmoor

Wessington Springs 'Total Devastation'

The South Dakota National Guard has been activated after an EF-2 tornado tore through the central South Dakota town of Wessington Springs just before 8 p.m. Wednesday night.

Homes and businesses are destroyed and Governor Dennis Daugaard has already surveyed some of the damage.

Springs Auto on the south side of Wessington Springs took a direct hit from the tornado. Twisted metal is resting on top of the damaged vehicles.

“I don’t think there’s really a car or a tractor or anything that doesn’t have something,” Jerry Caffee with Springs Auto said.

Caffee works at the lot - his dad owns it. Caffee took shelter in his basement as the twister tore through town. He says there was plenty of warning.

“Fire trucks were going through town and warning everybody to take cover and I think that’s why as far as I know there’s no serious injuries even,” Caffee said.

Daugaard has already taken a look at the damage at the car lot and throughout town. He says first responders have found a few residents with only minor injuries.

“They’ve done two sweeps of the homes and found everyone accounted for,” Daugaard said.

The public is being kept out of the main part of town but there are reports of several homes in Wessington Springs that sustained damage.

At least 43 homes have been damaged and 23 destroyed in the town. The National Weather Service was rated an EF-2.

One hundred National Guard members rolled into town overnight Wednesday to help with the recovery.

“Like I said nobody was hurt but it looks like total devastation,” Caffee said.

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