- Associated Press - Monday, June 22, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Violent thunderstorms early Monday caused damage throughout eastern South Dakota, leaving thousands of people without power and zeroing in on the town of Garretson, where damage was particularly extensive.

Winds downed trees and power poles in the town 10 miles northeast of Sioux Falls, blew over four tanks at a fertilizer plant, and led to a gas leak that prompted the evacuation of a mobile home park. Several homes were damaged but no injuries were reported. The Red Cross was providing help.

The National Weather Service sent a survey team to Garretson to investigate whether straight-line winds or a tornado caused the damage, the Argus Leader newspaper reported.

“We have several houses - five that I’ve seen myself - that have roofs missing or severe damage,” Fire Chief J.R. Hofer told KSFY-TV. “There are trees down all over town.”

Resident Paul Linneweber told the Argus Leader that he and his wife were getting ready for work when the storm hit. They didn’t have time to get to the basement, so they rode out the storm in a closet as winds blew their lawn furniture from the backyard to the front.

“It felt like the whole house was moving,” Linneweber said.

Officials were restricting traffic into the town Monday while getting the cleanup underway.

“It changes the appearance of our little town, that’s for sure,” resident Jake Johnson told the Argus Leader. “But we’ll recover, as every little town does.”

The strong winds damaged buildings throughout the region. Winds up to 80 mph in the Pierre area blew over Dumpsters and downed a tree in front of the state Capitol. The winds overturned a camper in Hayes, but members of the family inside suffered only minor injuries, KCCR radio reported.

The Farm Island Recreation Area in Pierre was temporarily closed Monday due to downed trees and no electricity, the state Game, Fish and Parks Department reported.

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