Long-term recovery following early summer storms in South Dakota

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​In June, eastern South Dakota experienced severe weather
ranging from record downpours to a tornado.

Heavy rains lead to flooding

During the night of June 16, Lincoln County received 8.5
inches of rain, which means it received a full month’s worth of rain in one
evening. This significant rainfall, paired with continued rain storms
throughout the region during the following two weeks, caused riverbanks to
overflow, lower levels of homes to flood, sewers to backup and more than 12
farms to be flooded.

In the town of Canton, in Lincoln County, highways and
roads leading into the town were completely flooded, which made it difficult
for rescue and emergency-response vehicles to provide service to the
approximately 1,300 households that were impacted by the flooding. 

In addition to the homes and businesses in Canton that
experienced negative effects from the flooding, the oldest Norwegian Lutheran
church in the state, Canton Lutheran (an ELCA congregation), was severely
damaged in the flood.

Tornado destroys, damages homes

On June 18, an EF-2 tornado went through Wessington Springs,
a town in Jerauld County, destroying dozens of homes and businesses. Wessington
Springs has 1,000 residents that comprise 485 households. Of those 485 homes,
43 were damaged, 12 were totally destroyed and another 12 were left
uninhabitable.

Tornado in Wessington Springs SD.jpg

(Pictured: A view of Wessington Springs after the tornado.)

Lutheran Disaster Response has committed an initial
$100,000 to Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota to assist in long-term
recovery efforts that are following these June storms. Long-term recovery
efforts will include disaster case management to work with people who were
impacted by the disasters to connect them with necessary resources so they can
return to their “new normal.” Recovery projects will also include construction
management in Canton and Wessington Springs to assist in the repair and
rebuilding of homes.  

We will work hand-in-hand with the people of eastern
South Dakota as they recover and rebuild after being impacted by severe
weather. Thanks to your generosity in undesignated gifts, Lutheran Disaster
Response is able to provide help when and where it is most needed.

If you would like to support Lutheran Disaster
Response’s work in providing hope and healing to those who have been impacted
by disaster, please visit the Lutheran Disaster Response giving page.