WATFORD CITY, N. D. – A newborn baby was killed and more than two dozen people were injured when a tornado whipped by a North Dakota oil patch city of night, falls recreational vehicles and the demolition of more than 100 structures, officials said on Tuesday.
The storm moved by means of Watford City, in the northwestern part of the state, shortly after midnight, hitting a RV park the hardest, according to the sheriff’s officials. About 20 of the reported 28 wounded were staying at the Prairie View RV Park where a lot of wind toppled some campers and damaged mobile homes.
McKenzie County Sheriff Gary Schwartzenberger told The Bismarck Tribune late Tuesday that a one-week-old boy died of injuries which he had sustained in the family caravan flipped in the storm. The child is not yet identified.
The National Weather Service meteorologist John Paul Martin classified the tornado as an EF2, which is defined by the wind speeds between 111 and 135 km / h. He said wind speeds reached 127 km / hr in Watford City.
Clifford Bowden, 37, was in his recreational vehicle when the storm hit.
“My dog was with me and the next thing you knew the storm grabbed my camper and slammed it on the ground. It felt as if we were weightless,” Bowden said.
“It was scary. I feel like I’m a pretty tough guy. But this storm, it made me shake uncontrollably,” he added.
Schwartzenberger said that his commander on the spot reported 122 structures in the park were completely destroyed. In addition to these structures, there were 79 with moderate damage and 120 with little to no damage.
Karolin Jappe, the McKenzie County emergency manager, said the RV park is one of the largest such facilities until the spring in the oil boom and there were a number of mobile homes on the site.
“It is just a large RV park on steroids,” Jappe said.
“There is more devastation than a tornado four years ago. Stainless steel reversed. Trucks under Stainless steel,” Jappe said.
Schwartzenberger said that his home half a mile from the RV park ago exterior cladding, roof tiles and hail damage.
“It’s a tornado scene,” Schwartzenberger said. “It went through and devastated a whole community down there. I am devastated myself on what happened. I feel for the families.”
Schwartzenberger said the park residents were allowed back Tuesday afternoon to collect their belongings. He said that the park would be shut down and that the cleanup activities would resume Wednesday morning.
“Of course they are going to be stressed out by what they see, because it was pitch black when it first happened,” Schwartzenberger said. “That is the reason why we give people the whole day to go. We want people to have time to put their stuff.”
About 150 people, including Bowden, his stay at the Watford City Civic Center, where the Red Cross has a temporary shelter.
North Dakota Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, a former Watford mayor who has a home in the city, and Gov. Doug Burgum examined the damage Tuesday and a meeting with local officials and displaced residents. Sanford said the extent of the damage is ” devastating and mindboggling, with Stainless steel perfectly be targeted and destroyed.”
In northeast Montana, officials said, a storm with estimated wind speeds of more than 100 mph tore through part of a city Monday night. Sheridan County Sheriff Heidi Williamson said that it was a microburst with speeds of up to 118 km / h destroyed at least nine small planes at the airport in Plentywood. No injuries were reported.
The storm also uprooted trees, downed power lines and other buildings damaged.