In South Dakota where we see all four seasons in their glory, nothing is off limits.

From prehistory up to today, South Dakota has seen destructive tornados, floods, blizzards, and devastating fires.

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How bad can the weather get in South Dakota?

Our friends at Only In Your State laid out eight of the most horrifying weather disasters to hit South Dakota:

1998 Spencer Tornado
With destruction spanning 14 miles, this F4 tornado destroyed this community of 320, killing six people and injuring 150. Said to be the second deadliest tornado in South Dakota history.

Missouri River Flooding of 2011
After record snowfall in the Rocky Mountains, South Dakota was on the receiving end of an unprecedented amount of runoff. Subsequently, massive flooding occurred with the loss of homes and property. It wasn't uncommon to see old appliances and vehicles floating down the Missouri River. Downstream several states would be affected.

2002 Grizzly Gulch Fire
The Black Hills has seen its share of fires and the scars from those fires are a reminder to us just how the natural beauty can be taken away quickly. The Grizzly Gulch Fire threatened the cities of Lead and Deadwood. And, after ten days would consume 11,000 acres at a cost of over $5.5 million.

Schoolhouse Blizzard of 1888
Also known as the Children's Blizzard because so many children died trying to go home from school, was one of the deadliest winter storms in the upper Midwest.

In the archives of the National Weather Service, eastern Dakota Territory, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa would see snow drifts 30 feet high, -25 degree temps, and 30 mph winds. In all the storm was responsible for 235 lives lost.

Ice Storm of 2013
Here in Sioux Falls, we called it Icepocalypse! The early spring ice storm would bring the area to a standstill and coat everything in its path with 3-4 inches of ice. Powerlines came down in several parts of the city and rural areas. Neighborhoods looked like war zones.

Black Hills Flood of 1972
How do you hold back 15 inches of rain in only 6 hours? Astonishing yes, but the city of Rapid City will forever remember those two days that summer. Two dams upstream on Box Elder Creek had broken. Current Rapid City Mayor Don Barnett urged the immediate evacuation of low-lying areas while Canyon Lake Dam would eventually fail, adding to the flood waters rushing through Rapid City.

  • 15 inches of rain fell near Nemo and Sheridan Lake
  • Water rose as fast as 3.5 feet in 15 minutes
  • 238 people were killed; 8 of the deaths were in Keystone
  • 3,000 people were injured.
  • 1,335 homes were destroyed
  • 5,000 automobiles were destroyed

Blizzard of 1997
Sorry to say we don't mess around when it comes to blizzards in South Dakota. This one would close Interstate travel from 50 mph winds and 20-foot drifts. Farmers and ranchers were devastated with livestock losses near 100,000.

2015 Delmont Tornado
The National Weather Service storm survey rated the Delmont tornado an EF-2. It was a sad Mother's Day for the small southeast South Dakota community where it would lose a 100-year-old church and its new fire station. Nine people sustained injuries.

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