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People rescued from rubble after tornado hits South Dakota town

Wessington Springs, S.D. tornado. Photo credit: Jason

Wessington Springs, S.D. tornado. Photo credit: Jason

WESSINGTON SPRINGS, S.D. — A tornado hit the south-central South Dakota town of Wessington Springs on Wednesday evening, briefly trapping some people in their homes.

The Jerauld County Sheriff’s Office said all have been rescued.

“The tornado hit across the street from the hospital — really just one block away — and there is stuff and debris everywhere,” said JoAnn Hettinger, director of patient care at Avera Weskota Memorial Hospital. Her facility received one patient, she said.

“We have reports of homes, businesses and farms damaged,” said Terry Woster with the state Department of Public Safety.

“We know there has been damage and we know that it is significant,” said Tony Venhuizen, a spokesman for Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

Wessington Springs is a town of about 950 people, about 100 miles northwest of Sioux Falls.

As much as three-fourths of the town of 350 is gone, Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger has said. Two people died during that storm, one a 5-year-old. The second death — a traffic accident — was probably weather-related, Unger said.

Severe storms caused tornado warnings in extreme eastern Colorado where there were two confirmed touchdowns, but there were no reports of damage late Wednesday night.

On Monday, rare twin tornadoes spun through Pilger, Nebraska, wiping out the business district.

As much as three-fourths of the town of 350 is gone, Stanton County Sheriff Mike Unger has said. Two people died during that storm — one a 5-year-old. The second death — a traffic accident — was probably weather-related, Unger said.