Although there have been many beautiful and amazing things that have happened in South Dakota, there have also been some absolutely devastating disasters. Looking back, here are some of the worst disasters to ever happen in South Dakota.
1. Spencer Tornado.
The tornado hit Spencer on May 30, 1998. Not only was it the most destructive tornado in South Dakota history, it was the second most deadly. In the year following this horrifying tornado, the population of Spencer went from 315 people to only 145 as people chose to rebuild elsewhere.
2. Missouri River Flooding of 2011.
Initially caused by melting snow in the Rocky Mountains, this flooding eventually occurred as a result of overflowing dams. Towns from North Dakota through to Missouri suffered severe flooding as a result. This flood was especially devastating as it lasted from June all the way through August. It destroyed many homes all along the river, even outside of flood plains.
3. The Grizzly Gulch Fire.
Beginning June 29, 2002 and lasting until July 7, the Grizzly Gulch Fire ravaged western South Dakota. Though the scars left by the fire and the memories still exist today, no one was killed in this horrifying natural disaster and for that we can be thankful.
4. The Schoolhouse Blizzard of 1888.
A combination of snowfall and dangerously low temperatures created the perfect condition for this storm back in 1888. Temperatures of -20 degrees Fahrenheit plus brutal winds hit South Dakota hard. This storm took 235 lives and is still remembered today.
5. The Ice Storm of 2013.
A late spring ice storm surprised everyone back in 2013. The sleet and ice came down in sheets covering absolutely everything. In some areas, ice was 3-4 inches thick on cars, windows and electrical poles. Trees and poles came down under the weight of the ice causing major destruction in many areas. Many livestock were killed as a result of this storm as well.
6. The Black Hills flood of 1972.
Between June 9th and 10th of 1972, Rapid City received 15 inches of rain in only 6 hours. This rapid rainfall caused immediate flooding and resulted in the death of 238 people, injuring far more. Over 1300 homes and 5000 automobiles also fell victim to this flood.
7. The Blizzard of 1997.
Two snowfalls in one week plus wind made for a treacherous combination in 1997. Drifts reached over 20 feet high and many livestock lost their lives.
8. The Delmont Tornado.
Just last year, Delmont was hit with a devastating tornado. It ripped into the town, taking historic homes and the church with it. In this small town, more than 20 buildings damaged made this a horrifying disaster.