While most weather watchers had their eyes trained on the Gulf Coast last week, a severe thunderstorm swept through the Black Hills region in South Dakota, devastating much of the tourist mecca’s campgrounds, and leaving millions of dollars in damaged RVs and structures.
Hart Ranch Resort south of Rapid City was one of the parks hit hardest by the Thursday, August 26th storm. Hail the size of baseballs destroyed vehicle windows and bodies, as well as almost every RV skylight and vent. RV roofs also sustained significant damage.
Hart Ranch Resort Manager Tim Schnabel said the storm hit suddenly just after 7 p.m. Many RVs at the park sustained interior damage when water poured through broken vents.
The storm also ravaged the Mount Rushmore KOA Resort at Palmer Gulch near Hill City, South Dakota. Managers there reported most RVs and other vehicles sustained severe damage, as did many of the roofed structures on the campground.
“About 90% of the roofs on our structures here will need to be replaced,” said Mount Rushmore KOA Resort at Palmer Gulch Marketing Director Gwyn Wathan. He said about 80% of the vehicles on the park had broken windows, and the campgrounds huge rodeo tent had “about 100 holes in it.”
Most of the RVs parked at the popular campground, just six miles from the Mount Rushmore National Monument, sustained damage. “Most of the roof vents on units were taken out,” Wathan said.
All campgrounds in the Black Hills were back open for the business and will be full again for the Labor Day Weekend.
Note from editor: We also heard from one of our Honorary Correspondents, George Bliss, reporting that they had a severe hailstorm in Regina, Saskatchewan, on August 31. He sent us pictures of the damage to his Heartland Big Horn Fifth Wheel, including holes in the ceiling vents and shower skylight, holes in awnings, a hole in a side wheel skirt, and even damage to the (vertical) speaker grill covers. Holey hail!