Call us at: 320-839-6163 or fax at: 320-839-3761


Home PagePrinting.html
Public Noticespublic_notices.htmlpublic_notices.htmlPublic Notices
Letters to the Editor letters_to_the_editor.htmlletters_to_the_editor.htmlLetters to the Editor
CHURCHES churches.htmlchurches.htmlOrtonville Churches
Big Stone Lake cabin
Cabin for rentTodds_cabin.htmlTodds_cabin.htmlCabin

HOMES ON THE PENINSULA IN ORTONVILLE received damage from a storm system that moved through the area Tuesday, June 13. Shown above is the Jon and Marie Bergwal home that had a tree uprooted and fall on the back of their home. No one was injured but the house received excessive damage.

Storm causes damage to area homes, golf course

Severe storms moved through the Big Stone Lake Area Tuesday, June 13, producing high winds in a short period of time.

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued for the area at approximately 8 p.m. that evening. Dark clouds began to roll in around 8:15 p.m. as winds began to pick up.

According to Kelly Serr, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather  Service in Aberdeen, SD, no tornado was reported in Ortonville, rather it was called a “Gustnado”.

“We saw photos and videos of the suspected tornado over Big Stone Lake. Rotation is occurring in the video, however, there is no funnel extending from the base of the cloud, so technically speaking, it is not a tornado,” said Serr. “Instead it is feature that occurs with strong straight-line winds called a "gustnado."

A gustnado is a short-lived, shallow surface-based vortex which forms within the downburst emanating from a thunderstorm. Gustnadoes form due to non-tornadic straight-line wind features in the downdraft (outflow), specifically within the gust front of strong thunderstorms. The average gustnado lasts a few seconds to a few minutes, although there can be several generations and simultaneous swarms. Most have the winds of an EF-0 or EF-1 tornado (up to 110 mph), and are commonly mistaken for tornadoes.

Serr said straight-line winds caused the damage in and around Ortonville. She stated that winds were clocked anywhere from 70 to 90 miles per hour in Ortonville.

One of the hardest hit areas was a line stretching from near the Chataqua area in Big Stone City, SD, to the Peninsula and golf course. A pontoon near Chataqua was completely lifted and overturned. Several houses along the peninsula were damaged when large trees were uprooted and fell on them.

The Ortonville golf course had approximatley 21 trees damaged or uprooted due to the storm. Approximately 21 volunteers assisted the golf course crew in cutting down the trees and removing branches and debris Wednesday, June 14.

The Jerrold and Mindy Peters home located along the golf course on County Road 12 received roof damage, with other homes losing shingles.

The only official tornado spotted in Big Stone County occurred four miles north of Clinton. Storm chasers and residents observed a brief tornado on the leading edge of a line of storms. The tornado moved over one farmstead damaging multiple structures. Over half of the tin roof was ripped from the house along with considerable damage to the siding of the house. One machine shed was completely destroyed. Another machine shed had damage to the southward facing walls and lost over half of the roof. A third machine shed had extensive damage to the westward facing walls and lost over half of the roof. An empty grain bin was completely removed from the cement base and an attached auger was toppled. Another grain bin was dented at the top. One power pole was snapped, with other poles downed due to the weight of the wires. Widespread tree damage including snapped trunks, uprooted trees, and large broken branches occurred on the property. A small area of corn crop was razed to the ground. Some debris was driven into the ground, while other debris was lofted roughly 2000 feet to the northeast. Winds were clocked at nearly 110 miles per hour.

Two miles northwest of Johnson, A resident watched the tornado touch down in an open field before moving over their farmstead. Minor damage to a garage door and garage siding occurred along with multiple uprooted trees and snapped trunks. Tree limbs and branches were tossed in multiple directions. Winds were clocked at 90 miles per hour.

FSA County Committee nominations end August 1

County Executive Director, Scott Schneider of the Big Stone County Farm Service Agency reminds producers the nomination period for the County Committee election opened Thursday, June 15. Request nomination forms from the local USDA Service Center or obtain online at

“I urge all farmers and ranchers to participate in this year's county committee elections by nominating candidates by the Aug. 1 deadline,” said Schneider. “County committees are a vital link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and provide a voice to landowners, farmers and ranchers so that they have an opportunity for their opinions and ideas to be heard. With better participation in recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of nominations of women and minority candidates. I hope that trend continues.”

To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside or farm in the local administrative area (Akron, Artichoke, Big Stone, Odessa, Ortonville and Otrey townships) in which the person is a candidate.

Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others, and organizations representing minorities and women also may nominate candidates. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form, FSA-669A. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available online at Nomination forms for the 2017 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on Aug. 1. Elections will take place this fall.

While FSA county committees do not approve or deny loans, they make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues. Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide, there are about 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to 11 members that are elected by eligible producers.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay). 


The Ortonville Independent can now print posters and