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Four tornadoes blow through region Friday

RUSHMORE -- A Son-D Farms hog barn was blown away Friday night by an EF-1 tornado that blew through northwest of Rushmore, but things could have been significantly worse.

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The remains of the Son-D Farms hog barn near Rushmore blown away by Friday evening's tornado. (Grace McGaughey/The Globe)

RUSHMORE - A Son-D Farms hog barn was blown away Friday night by an EF-1 tornado that blew through northwest of Rushmore, but things could have been significantly worse.

 

No one was hurt or injured as a result of the twister, one of two EF-1 tornadoes noted near Rushmore in a preliminary damage survey released Saturday by the National Weather Service of Sioux Falls, S.D. Another EF-1 tornado was noted near Bigelow, the NWS said, and an EF-2 twister near Melvin, Iowa was also reported by the weather service.

 

At the Son-D Farms property early Saturday afternoon, employee David Bullerman said he rushed to the farm Friday evening in the aftermath of the tornado, which reportedly touched down at 7:26 p.m. There, he found a hog barn destroyed, but pigs still in their holding pens.

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“I was at home and the alarm went off, but there wasn’t power,” explained Bullerman, who lives near Adrian. “We had a few guys come running over here right away. We basically loaded up most of the hogs to take them to JBS. … We loaded up about 1,000, and moved the other 200 into the other barn (next to the barn that had been destroyed).”    

 

Bullerman added that he was thankful for those who came to lend a hand at the Son-D Farms property known as “Thom’s site,” and that many worked for several hours.

 

“We were out here until 1:30 (a.m.) or so loading hogs,” he said. “We had very good support from the community, and that helped make a situation like this a lot easier.”

 

Of the two Rushmore-area tornadoes noted in Saturday’s NWS survey, the twister that hit Son-D Farms had estimated peak winds of 110 mph, a path length of 1.6 miles and a maximum width of 50 yards. The other tornado, which touched down at 7:37 p.m. a little more than a mile west of Rushmore, had estimated peak winds of 91 mph, a path length of 1.25 miles and a maximum width of 75 to 100 yards.

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About 20 to 30 hogs were lost in Rushmore, and there was also crop damage.

 

The tornado spotted near Bigelow, touched down at 7:47 p.m., according to the NWS. It had estimated peak winds of 100 mph and a path length of 1.97 miles, as well as a maximum width of 100 yards. As was the case with both Rushmore tornadoes, no deaths or injuries were reported, though a small garage was damaged at the Bigelow site.

 

The severe weather that hit Rushmore and Bigelow was not as powerful as the storm that made its way through Melvin on Friday. The NWS reported that an EF-2 tornado touched down at 8:07 p.m. near the northwest Iowa community, with a path length of 6.0 miles and a maximum width of 250 yards. Estimated peak winds were at 125 mph, and the tornado didn’t lift until 8:27 p.m.

 

The Melvin storm resulted in damage to several homesteads, large tree damage and significant crop damage, the NWS said.  No deaths or injuries were reported.

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While Friday night’s weather brought damaging winds, it didn’t necessarily bring much in the way of precipitation, as just a little more than a quarter of inch of rain fell in Worthington. Nearby communities such as Wilmont, however, had another woe to contend with, as some sites had up to golf-ball-sized hail.  

Ryan McGaughey arrived in Worthington in April 2001 as sports editor of The Daily Globe, and first joined Forum Communications Co. upon his hiring as a sports reporter at The Dickinson (North Dakota) Press in November 1998. McGaughey became news editor in Worthington in November 2002 and editor in August 2006.
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