Saturday, March 23, 2019

Eagle Butte
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy

West end hit hard by storm’s wrath

Friday night’s storms devastated the communities of Red Scaffold, Takini, Bridger, Cherry Creek, leaving the west end communities without electric power for hours, and some, even for days.

Late Friday evening, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Chairman Frazier began emergency response operations after receiving reports of building destruction, flooding, and power outage from the severe thunderstorms.

Chairman Frazier, along with a group of tribal employees and volunteers, began a caravan at 11 p.m. on Friday night, travelling with packages of water, Vienna sausage, diapers, fresh fruit, head lamps, and batteries.

On BIA Route 12 heading toward Cherry Creek, a Bureau of Indian affairs worker was putting up road signage warning of flash floods.

Chairman Frazier and his team pulled into Cherry Creek around midnight. The power outage left the community in complete darkness. After driving around the community assessing damage and informing community members of their presence, the group set up a temporary aid station near Cherry Creek Gymnasium.

Over a dozen families stopped by the station and were given supplies–all asked for an update on restoring electricity. Chairman Frazier answered questions with information he knew.

Around 12:45 a.m., Chairman Frazier and crew began surveying other communities. The team agreed that separating would be more efficient- Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Steve Vance took supplies to Takini and Chairman Frazier and Remi Bald Eagle began driving toward Red Scaffold.

The road conditions were horrible driving toward the community of Frazier— deep erosions held pools of muddy water and foliage debris indicated recent flooding.

Ash Creek near Ed Widow’s residence was flooded and running high. Rattlesnake Creek was inundated, which, according to Bald Eagle, is atypical.

The team arrived in Red Scaffold around 1:30 a.m. and spoke with the White Wolf family. Their homestead suffered damage from the high winds and hail storm.

Other families reportedly suffered damage to their homes, barns, and vehicles. The Little Shield family from Cherry Creek reported that the winds flattened the tall grass and deer had been killed near the dam by the Lesmeister residence.

Strong winds in Saturday night’s storm took down trees, tore off siding, and downed powerlines, leaving many on the west end without power. Above, a tree lays across the foundation of a new clinic being built in Red Scaffold. Submitted photo

Electricity was restored to Red Scaffold on Saturday morning. Takini and Cherry Creek electricity was restored late Sunday night.