Community Rallies Despite Tornado Damages


It came, it went and it left an estimated $1 million in damages.

The National Weather Service confirms the EF-0 tornado, this past Friday, had an estimated peak wind speed of 80 mph.

“We looked up at the sky and we see big humongous round circle,” said Joe Karst, 18, who lives in Waubay.

Karst spent his 18th birthday in a gas station, in an attempt to ride out the storm. Now, instead of hanging out with his friends, he’s helping clean up.

“If you need something we’re willing to see what we can do to help,” Karst added.

Cleanup crews have been working around the clock in an attempt to put the town back together.

Something Kevin Jens, the mayor of Waubay, says they are all, too familiar with.

“In 2008, we had a severe wind storm that wasn’t much worse than this one,” he said, “after a week’s work we bounced back.”

A wall of trees sets the background to the community debris site — a location that is used for area residents to take the storm’s destruction.

Shingles to homes have been ripped off, siding and tin from local farms entangled in the wreckage, but despite damage the town is resilient.  

“You know when you pull together and work together to make improvements in a community, a small community; those are the things that set us apart.”

For now, scenic lake sights act as the backdrop to a community trying to make sense of the situation.