Freezing rain was followed by up to 4 feet of snow, which was blown around with near-hurricane force and became lodged in some of the animal’s lungs, suffocating them.
“I've been in this business 50 years and I've never seen anything like this," rancher Kathy Jobgen told Reuters.
She estimated her family lost nearly half of its herd of 350 when the storm swept through October 3-5. “The vision of seeing all these cattle dead is something you can't wipe out of our eyes.”
Winds were so strong during the blizzard that they toppled at least 1,500 utility poles,knocking out power to tens of thousands of South Dakota residents.
The snow struck just a few days after temperatures soared to around 80 degrees Fahrenheit and as most ranchers were about to take their calves to market.
Photo: Butte County Sheriff's Department