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Harding County Hit By Tornadoes

HARDING COUNTY, S.D. - People in Harding County are clearing the wreckage left behind by tornadoes that tore through northwestern South Dakota Thursday night. 

One tornado destroyed a home and six other buildings on a ranch south of Camp Crook. 

When Doug Davis heard his wife yell at him from his house, he thought she was warning him about hail.  

But when he looked up he saw a tornado forming to the southwest of their ranch about 12 miles south of Camp Crook.

Davis said he first sighted the tornado when it was about a mile southwest of his house. He said it dissipated and disappeared for awhile, but then it came down again. When it hit the Davis Ranch, it was about a quarter mile wide. 

"We were in the basement, but I could see the funnel coming by on the ground off to the west side of us," Harding County Rancher Doug Davis said.

Davis got on the phone and called Dick and Erma Albert, who were in a rental house about 200 yards to the north, and warned them to get into the basement. They made it just in time. The tornado wrecked the house and destroyed two buildings.  

"It just sounded like a horrible...just a really strong wind," Davis said.

This morning, when Davis and his son Jake came out to survey the wreckage, he found nearly every building on the ranch had sustained some damage.  Two buildings were gone altogether. In addition there was damage to his equipment. 

"My 1070 Case tractor, which weighs probably 10,000 plus pounds was over a half a mile away, off to the west, and it's gone, I can't find it."  

Later in the morning. Jake found some parts of the tractor about a half mile from where it had stood. 

"The majority of the chassis was another 50 yards away.  And the rest of the parts are scattered over a mile or better," Doug's son, Jake said.

Doug had some sheep and several cattle that were injured. And Jake says a herd of 20 deer were also killed by the twister.


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