- Associated Press - Thursday, May 7, 2015

CHERRY CREEK, S.D. (AP) - Straight-line winds and not a tornado likely caused a building’s roof to collapse on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation during a storm.

It happened around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday in Cherry Creek when about 40 people were gathered inside for a tribal council meeting, said administrative officer Bobbi Jo Kraft with the Cheyenne River Law Enforcement Center. Some of them were temporarily trapped and four were injured.

She said Thursday morning she didn’t have any other details, but tribal officials planned to gather for a briefing and then would provide an update.

Dave Hintz, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service office in Rapid City, said thunderstorms were moving across central South Dakota at the time. But no trained weather spotter called in to report a twister, and radar did not indicate any wind rotation consistent with a tornado, though Cherry Creek is quite a distance from the nearest weather station, he said.

“Straight-line winds can easily hit 100 miles an hour. Typically on the Northern Plains a lot of the damage done to structures is via straight-line winds,” Hintz said.

What often happens is a gust will get into the building through a door or window and pushes up on the roof, which is not designed to handle that pressure, he said.

“From what few pictures we have here, that almost looks like it was the case. The wind got into the building, lifted up part of the roof and everything just collapsed down toward the middle,” Hintz said.

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