Iowa, South Dakota Towns Assessing Tornado Damage

May 12, 2015

Residents of the tornado-ravaged Iowa and South Dakota towns are beginning to assess property damage after twisters hit on Sunday.

In South Dakota, the Tripp-Delmont School District called off classes on May 11 because school facilities are being used for emergency shelter.

The tornado hit the town of about 200 people Sunday morning, injuring nine people and damaging at least 20 buildings, including a century-old church. State Public Safety spokesman Tony Mangan says two people remain hospitalized.

Crews are working to restore water, electricity and phone service in Delmont. Mangan says there’s no estimate on when the work will be done.

A tornado on Sunday also caused considerable damage in a central Iowa community.

Meterologist Frank Boksa with the Des Moines office of the National Weather Service said an apparent tornado hit Lake City, in Calhoun County, on Sunday night and authorities reported structural damage and uprooted trees.

The Des Moines Register reported that trained spotters confirmed a tornado in Carroll County moving north toward Lake City just before 7:15 p.m. According to the weather service, the tornado caused damage that spanned two blocks.

Calhoun County resident Austin Jacobs, who lives on a farm just west of Lake City, told the newspaper that after the storm subdued he went to the town to look at the damage. Jacobs said damage included downed telephone poles and roofs blown off of houses. He also said the roof of South Central Calhoun High School had become detached during the storm.

“The main part of the roof is bent like an upside down U over the road kind of creating a tunnel,” Jacobs said.

South Central Calhoun girls’ basketball coach Dave Birks said there were about 150 people inside the high school for a baccalaureate and senior awards ceremony, but they were able to evacuate to the school’s basement and locker room area. About two minutes later, the tornado arrived.

“The lights went off, and everyone’s ears kind of popped,” Birks said. “They say a tornado sounds like a freight train, and that lasted only 5 or 10 seconds. Everyone came upstairs, and it was a mess.”

According to Birks, the windows in the common areas of the school were blown out and insulation was scattered nearby. He also said the high jump pit from the school’s outdoor athletic complex was missing and hurdles were scattered everywhere.

The Iowa State Patrol reported that no one was injured from the storm.

A 911 telephone outage emergency was declared for Calhoun County on Sunday night, officials said.

The National Weather Service also received reports of a tornado touchdown in adjacent Pocahontas County. No injuries were immediately reported.

In Nebraska, a frost advisory was in effect for much of the western part of the state, which also saw snow on Sunday. More than 18 inches were reported near Chadron.

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