Hail wreaks havoc on Custer
Published: Thursday, June 14th, 2012
“It sounded like someone was throwing rocks at our front door!”
That was the observation of many campers staying in Custer who were caught in a hailstorm on Thursday, June 7. The downpour began around 3 p.m. with rain and strong wind, but soon grew into a large hailstorm, with hail sizes ranging from pea- to tennis ball-sized.
“A lot of campers were damaged, as well as many tents and a teepee,” said Cindy Hammer, owner of Beaver Lake Campground. “There wasn’t a lot of physical damage to the campground, but there were a lot of branches knocked down and gravel misplaced.”
Hammer said a lot of physical work was put into removing branches and fixing damaged spots, such as gravel paths and roads.
“The way the hail hit, the gravel roads were just torn up,” Hammer said.
Beaver Lake Campground had 48 guests in tents and campers who were affected by the hail.
“No one was injured, so that is the most important part,” Hammer said.
From as far north as Crazy Horse and east as Custer State Park, many homes, businesses and camping spots were damaged. The hardest hit area was west of town with hailstones as large as tennis balls. Four Mile saw hail pieces the size of baseballs.
“All I can say is, ‘Oh, my!’” said Mary Krogman, owner of Four Mile. “We had damage, all right.”
“A lot of RVs were damaged, awnings and air conditioners,” said Debbie Murray at Custer KOA. “A lot of lights, both on RVs and buildings, were destroyed in the storm.”
“It was definitely loud,” Murray added. “Couldn’t hear anything besides that, that’s for sure!”
Sally Larsen lives near Four Mile and figures she suffered close to $10,000 in damages from the storm.
“We had an insurance agent out Friday to look at the damage,” she said. “Thankfully none of our home windows were broken, but we had some windows in our out buildings damaged, as well downed branches.”
Larsen spent most of Friday collecting branches and surveying the damage. The outside of her home was splattered with mud from the force of the hail’s impact.
“Our neighbors have some roof damage that may need to be taken care of,” she said. “Not sure if we’ll have to do any roof repair yet. We sure hope not!”
Larsen kept a couple pieces of hail, with the largest piece measuring two inches wide. Other pieces west of town ranged from golf ball to tennis ball sized.
“With the size of the hail we were lucky,” Larsen said. “If that had hit someone it really could have been bad.”
Phill Randall was one of many who had windshields broken, but he quickly had it replaced.
“That old 2001 Chevy, like a rock, with 361,000 miles plus, will keep going,” he said. “Neither snow, wind, rain or hail will stop it!”
Not even the Custer Stampede fiberglass buffalo on display in downtown Custer were spared from the storm’s wrath.
“There was damage on some buffalo, but thankfully we have insurance on them,” said Dave Ressler, director of the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce. “We will have the adjuster in and get the buffalo back to their original condition.”
Many places west of town received three inches of hail, while areas in Custer had one to two inches.
“I didn’t have property damage, but my vegetable and flower gardens took a beating,” said Nina Nielsen, who lives near the football field. “I guess we’ll be having tossed salad for a while!”
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