Hail of a storm slams regionFast moving and saturated storm systems dumped several inches of rain and hail on the Mitchell area Monday morning and afternoon.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Fast moving and saturated storm systems dumped several inches of rain and hail on the Mitchell area Monday morning and afternoon.
Flash food warnings were issued in the late afternoon for parts of Davison, Hanson, Miner and Sanborn counties and were in effect through most of the evening, but no flooding was evident in a number of low-lying areas. No injuries were reported by local agencies.
National Weather Service meteorologist Brad Temeyer said flooding concerns were raised because the ground was “saturated” by all the rain in recent days. That meant any new rain would quickly form puddles on the soaked ground, flood fields and create other hazards, Temeyer said.
According to the NWS, the vanguard of the weather systems blew through Mitchell in the early morning hours Monday and dropped about a quarterinch of rain.
The greatest weather makers, however, were a string of early afternoon storms that dumped more than 4 inches of rain and marble-sized hail on areas between Plankinton and Mount Vernon, according to witnesses.
Johna Vissia, clubhouse manager at the Fish Lake Country Club, at 39051 253rd St., located east of Plankinton, said 4 inches of rain had fallen by 3:30 p.m.
“It started about 11 a.m. It came down hard and pretty steady. The worst of it hit around 12:30 p.m. and marble-sized hail hit about 1 p.m.,” Vissia said, “and one sharp crack of lightning rumbled the clubhouse.”
There was no serious damage from the storm, Vissia said, but it will take time for the course to drain, she said.
The National Weather Service in Sioux Falls said the same storm delivered walnut- and golf ball-sized hailstones in other areas.
Geno Deinert, who handles maintenance for the town of Mount Vernon, reported to Mayor Jason Christensen that the town received both pea- and marble-sized hail, and about 1 inch of rain.
The storm gained power as it rumbled toward Loomis, where hail whitened the ground and created icy road conditions.
Davison County Sheriff Dave Miles was driving north on Betts Road behind the heaviest part of the early afternoon storm until the hailstones kept growing in size.
“It started with pea-sized hail, but when it got to dimeand nickel-size, I figured it was time to turn around,” he said.
When he drove through Loomis, Miles said, “The roads were completely white. It was like driving through snow 2 and 3 inches deep in places. I saw stones that were pea-sized right up to the size of a walnut.”
There was extensive damage to the leaves of trees in the area, he said.
“There has got to be crop damage, but clouds and fog were so low on the ground that you couldn’t see into the fields, which were solid water,” Miles said.
The hail made driving treacherous. “It was like driving over a bed of rocks, and it was slippery,” Miles said.
Former Davison County Sheriff Lyle Swenson said he and his wife had just finished lunch and sitting in their kitchen around 12:50 p.m. when lightning struck a tall tree near their 408 W. Fourth Ave. home.
“We heard a huge explosion that sounded like a bomb going off,” Swenson said. “It just brought us out of our chairs.”
Swenson said “pieces of tree” began falling past their window from a 50-year-old tree near their garage.
The lightning didn’t take down the tree, but “it stripped off bark probably a foot wide or better about 20 feet above the ground and upwards another 20 to 30 feet off the ground.
“It just blew apart and there are pieces of bark an inch wide and 2 or 3 feet long lying all around.”