National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


The strongest tornado recorded in South Dakota tracked across eastern Tripp County on May 8, 1965. It was part of a large tornado outbreak caused by a strong spring storm that moved from Colorado into central South Dakota. A total of 30 tornadoes were reported in Nebraska and South Dakota during the afternoon through late evening.

As moisture wrapped around the storm, it encountered very cold air over the northern plains and produced heavy snow over the Black Hills area. The Rapid City airport received 8.8 inches of snow, while Lead measured 36 inches of snow. Other reports included 25 inches at Hill City, 22.5 inches at Mount Rushmore, 18 inches at Pactola Reservoir, and 16 inches at Fort Meade (east of Sturgis). Even towns on the plains had significant snowfall, with Belle Fourche reporting 10 inches, Newell 8 inches, and Oelrichs 5.2 inches.

Map of tornadoes on May 8, 1965
Tornado tracks on May 8, 1965 (red lines and points)
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