DELMONT, S.D. — A tornado struck the small town of Delmont on Sunday morning, injuring at least nine people and damaging about 20 buildings, including a church where children attending Sunday school took shelter in the basement. No deaths were reported.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard said none of the injuries were life-threatening and seven of the nine people had been released from the hospital.
The town about 90 miles southwest of Sioux Falls had no water, power or phones, South Dakota Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Kristi Turman said. The 200-plus residents were asked to leave for safety reasons.
Law enforcement officials said the tornado hit the town that's 90-some miles southwest of Sioux Falls at about 10:45 a.m., the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls reported.
Among the buildings damaged was Zion Lutheran Church, which lost its roof, stained glass windows and pipe organ. Children who were in Sunday school took shelter in the basement when the tornado hit.
Daugaard was in Delmont to tour tornado damage.
Cleanup was set to begin Monday, although some homes already were being cleaned. Utility trucks and crews were assessing damage, including downed poles and lines.
Some cow carcasses were piled up near a farm, having either died in the tornado or hurt and later euthanized. A flattened home sat at the entrance to the town, and dozens of people were helping the homeowner, who would not talk to an Associated Press reporter.
Across the street, 87-year-old Walter Stoebner said his house was damaged.
"It sucked the window out of the living room, frame and everything," Stoebner said. "It was just one big bang, and that was it. It didn't last long."
Besides the church, the city's new fire hall was heavily damaged, said Anita Mathews, owner of the Old Bank Mini-Mart.
"One side of town was taken away," Mathews said.
Three people who were injured were treated and released from Avera St. Benedict Health Center in Parkston, hospital spokeswoman Lindsey Meyers said.
The South Dakota Office of Emergency Management was sending help at the request of local authorities, South Dakota Department of Public Safety spokesman Tony Mangan said.
Meteorologist Brad Adams of the National Weather Service said another tornado touched down west of Ethan but no damage was reported.
The weather service was sending a storm survey team to Delmont, Adams said.