Families on Pine Ridge Reservation hanging on after devastating hail storm

OGLALA, S.D. (KEVN) - A hail storm producing baseball-sized hail hit within 25 miles of the Pine Ridge Reservation Friday night, leaving nearly 250 people and 500 of their homes in shambles.

The Bates family who says they were on the road when the massive storm touched down.

"I was going about 65 and the clouds were flying past me, then the wind hit the truck and we almost went off the road. We didn't even stop by the house. We got to the Junction and I know I saw a final drop behind our house. That's when the sirens went off in Oglala and I looked back in the rear view and I could see that funnel cloud that just came down, right by where our trailer is."

A long night of clean up with assistance from local agencies, emergency management, and volunteers, the Bates say things are looking up.

"It was quite the experience. Today we're still cleaning up but we're still here, we're happy we're doing good."

Irene Maybin is still picking up the pieces on her property as well.

"All my siding went down with holes in it. My back of my trailer is demolished, my vehicles i damages, everybody's trailer house, all on the front sides of it are all damaged," she said.

Maybin says the devastating aftermath has been an emotional run.

"I cried all night, all morning, but we can't predict the weather. My husband said we'll put it in storage and he'll rebuild it from there," she expressed.

Although she and neighbors are experiencing a hard time, they still have hope. With help from volunteers and neighbors, boarding up for what could be another unexpected tragedy.

"A lot of us on the reservation don't have insurance so we can't afford it, but our homes are all we have," Maybin said.

Steve Wilson, emergency manager for Oglala Sioux Tribe, says crews will work up until Saturday afternoon on cleanup operations and repairs.