Tornadoes Hit Midwest, No Deaths Reported
The Associated Press
Jun. 25, 2003
Tornadoes destroyed a tiny South Dakota town, leaving only a shed, and caused major damage in a Minnesota community as severe storms raked a handful of Midwestern states.
Four people were injured by a tornado that one witness described as ``absolutely huge'' when it struck the eastern South Dakota town of Manchester late Tuesday.
It appeared that every building in the rural hamlet of 12 to 20 people was destroyed except for one shed, said Kingsbury County Sheriff Charles Smith.
``I've seen other tornado damage, but I've never seen farms where everything is gone. Usually, part of the house is standing,'' Smith said. ``It stripped it clean to the foundation. If anyone would have been home at those places, they would have been dead.''
The injured had cuts and bruises, said Dr. Louis Karlen. Two were in a mobile home that was destroyed, he said.
Two others were headed into their basement when the twister hit, Karlen said. ``She made it down the basement. He was sucked out and landed a block away.''
Also hard hit was Buffalo Lake, Minn., although no major injuries or deaths were reported.
``The (farmers) elevator's busted up, power lines are down, the whole city got hit. The whole north side of the roof of Zion Lutheran Church is gone,'' said Buffalo Lake City Council member Douglas Rath.
Ten to 15 homes were virtually leveled in Buffalo Lake, a town of about 770 people, Police Chief Greg Gowan said Wednesday on CBS's ``The Early Show.''
In Nebraska, at least eight twisters struck as storms roared across the state for a third straight day, but no deaths or injuries were reported there. A barn was damaged 12 miles north of Newport near the South Dakota line and three homes in the community of about 100 had minor damage.
Gowan said early warnings were the reason no one was seriously hurt at Buffalo Lake, in south-central Minnesota.
Gowan said he knew it was time to run for cover when he saw a 40-foot pine tree with its roots attached ``slowly pirouetting in the sky, maybe 200 feet in the air.'' He estimated that in addition to the homes that were leveled, five buildings were severely damaged and about 50 houses had some damage.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty ordered National Guard soldiers to Buffalo Lake to guard against looters. Police officers from several nearby towns were also on hand.
Authorities said a tornado also touched ground near Kandiyohi. Both towns are located about 70 miles west of Minneapolis.
Northwest Airlines said high wind damaged airplanes at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. Airline spokesman Bill Mellon said wind also moved ground equipment around, and downed branches made airport operations tricky, but the airline expected to be running a normal schedule Wednesday.