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Dozens injured, 3 critical, when tornado hits North Dakota city

WATFORD CITY, N. D. – More than two dozen people injured, at least three critically, when a tornado whipped through a northwestern North Dakota town during the night, topple and fall recreational vehicles, officials said Tuesday.

The storm moved through Watford City shortly after midnight, hitting a RV park the hardest, according to the sheriff’s officials. About 20 of the 28 people injured were at the Prairie View RV Park where a lot of wind toppled some campers and damaged mobile homes.

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.

He is estimated that 70 of some of the hundreds of recreational vehicles in the park were damaged.

“It was scary. I feel like I’m a pretty tough guy. But this storm, it made me shake uncontrollably,” Bowden said.

At least three people suffered critical injuries, according to McKenzie County emergency manager Karolin Jappe.

“There is more devastation than a tornado four years ago. Stainless steel reversed. Trucks under Stainless steel,” Jappe said.

McKenzie County Sheriff Gary Schwartzenberger said that his home half a mile from the park ago, siding and shingle 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 would be allowed back briefly Tuesday afternoon to collect their belongings. He said that the park would be shut down and that the cleanup activities would resume Wednesday morning.

About 150 people, including Bowden, his stay at the Watford City Civic Center, where the Red Cross has a temporary shelter.

Lt.-Gov. Brent Sanford has arrived in Watford City, where he was once mayor and where he still has a home, according to Mike Nowatzki, a spokesman for Gov. Doug Burgum.

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Information from: KFGO-AM, http://www.kfgo.com

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