Tornado Touches Down in Burke, South Dakota, Injuring Two

Burke Storm Damage
Argusleader.com
  • A strong storm ripped through Burke, South Dakota damaging several buildings and injuring two.
  • The Burke Civic Center, a lumberyard, and a local school building were severely affected with parts of the school completely gone.
  • The National Weather Service confirmed that an EF1 tornado touched down just south of the Burke fire station.
  • A GoFund Me campaign has been set up to help raise support for those affected by the tornado.

This past Tuesday night on August 6, a strong storm tore through the city of Burke, South Dakota. Several buildings were destroyed while two people sustained injuries. Fortunately, no deaths were reported.

Severe Storm Rips Through Lumberyard and School

“It’s a mess,” Mayor Tom Glover said reflecting on the damage that the storm produced. Glover reported that just as two people were driving cars into a garage, the storm whipped through and ripped the garage right off its foundation.

The individuals involved did not suffer any life-threatening injuries, although one had to be transported to a Sioux Falls hospital for precautionary reasons. No other injuries or deaths were reported.

Mayor Glover also said that a local lumberyard and the Burke Civic center were severely damaged. A nearby school building was also affected with parts of it gone completely. In reference to the school, Glover said, “It’s going to be non-functional.”

NWS Confirms a Tornado Touched Down

Originally, National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Gillispie said that they were unsure of what caused the significant damage. However, as of around 3 pm on Wednesday afternoon, the NWS confirmed that a tornado did in fact touch down in the city of Burke.

Upon further investigation, most of the damage from the tornado was caused by high winds that ranged from 80 mph to 100 mph. It touched down just below the town’s fire station right before 10:30 pm and traveled for about 3.8 miles. The NWS rated the tornado an EF1, which represents about 35% of the annual tornados in the United States.

Myron Johnson, the Commissioner of Gregory County, said that the city couldn’t sound the siren to warn its residents of the dangerous storm due to a power outage. This tornado has been declared the 4th disaster of the year for the county.

Support for the Town of Burke

Former Democratic nominee for Governor of South Dakota and native to Burke, Billie Sutton tweeted out his sentiments early Wednesday morning.

“My heart is with everyone in my hometown of Burke this morning as we recover from a devastating storm that caused injuries and damage to our school, Civic Center, Senior Center, businesses, and homes.”

The town has also set up a GoFund Me campaign to help support those that were affected by the tornado. As of 5 pm on Wednesday evening, the campaign is already 80% funded.

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Written by Bryan Brammer