Storms cause wind, hail damage
READING -- Twisted sheet metal remained scattered in a soybean field south of Reading Monday afternoon, remnants of a storm packed with winds, heavy rain and hail that stripped soybean plants to the stem and left corn flattened in an area at least two miles wide and about four miles in length.
The storm hit in the early morning hours on Sunday, followed by a second storm shortly after midnight Monday morning. Combined, the weekend storms contributed anywhere from 2 to 5 inches of rainfall in the area.
Leo Bents, who owns the machine shed that had the "west third" of its roof torn off, as well as the west side and a large door, said he didn't know if it was straight-line winds or something more powerful that ripped through the machine shed.
A towering Cottonwood tree not far away was also felled in the storm.
"We couldn't see nothing," Bents said, adding that the wind was blowing and there was quite a bit of rain and hail. "It was pretty rough. All the way through here, everybody's got damage."
The machine shed was filled with equipment, but Bents said he hadn't gone inside yet to survey any of the damage.
A camper parked outside nearby is littered with hail dents, he added. Insurance adjusters had not yet visited the Bents site by Monday afternoon.
The Bentses lost electricity about 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning. It wasn't restored until 9:30 a.m., he added.
Tom Prins, who lives just south of the Bents farm, wasn't at home at the time of the early Sunday morning storm, but his son said hail the size of quarters fell for about half an hour.
"It's bad," Tom Prins said. "The corn was stripped and blown flat. It's going to be a disaster combining."
The soybeans, whittled down to the stems, will be a total loss, he figures.
"I think they're done," he said. "It's too late to replant."
Prins said a crop adjuster won't be out to visit his farm for about seven to 10 days.
On Monday morning, crews from Nobles Cooperative Electric were working to untangle a large windmill from a utility pole on the Jared Kopplow and Jessica Lynn farm southwest of Rushmore.
That damage occurred in the early morning hours Monday, after high winds and heavy rains hit the region for a second straight night.
Lynn said the storm went through their place a little after 1 a.m. All she heard was "loud winds -- kind of like a freight train."
The winds lasted for what seemed like only a couple of minutes, but when she and Kopplow looked outside, they discovered limbs from one of the big trees in front of their home had fallen and pushed up against the garage door.
Another tree to the north of their home was uprooted, and the windmill collapsed right over the utility pole.