A week-old baby died and more than two dozen people were injured after a tornado ripped through a North Dakota city overnight, wreaking havoc in an RV park and destroying more than a hundred structures.
The storm moved through an RV park in Waterford City shortly after midnight. About 20 of the estimated 28 people injured by the storm were staying at the Prairie View RV Park where the strong winds overturned several campers and mobile homes in the area. The RV park houses oilfield workers as well as their families.
The McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office said in its news release that a one-week-old boy died from injuries sustained after the family’s trailer home was upturned in the storm. The infant died while first responders were preparing to transport him to Fargo.
McKenzie County Sheriff Gary Schwartzenberger offered his deepest condolences to the family of the boy during a meeting with Governor Doug Burgum and state and local officials.
A National Weather Service Team said the storm that struck at around noon on July 10 was rated an EF2 tornado, based on the Enhanced Fujita scale of 0 to 5, with 5 being the most severe.
The tornado had a wind speed that reached 127mph in Watford City and touched down in a narrow strip of the RV park.
In terms of property loss, Sheriff Schwartzenberger reported 122 structures in the park were destroyed. 79 other structures sustained moderate damage, while 120 received minor to no damage.
Aside from those injured, 200 people were also displaced in the aftermath according to Karolin Jappe, the McKenzie County Emergency Manager. Jappe said the RV park is one of the largest such facilities to spring up during the oil boom and there were other mobile homes in the area.
According to Schwartzenberger, his house, which was half a mile from the RV park, also suffered damages from the onslaught of the twister. He said the affected families have been allowed to go back and retrieve their belongings. Afterwards, the park will be shut down for cleanup operations.
The American Red Cross is helping support the county’s displaced residents with 100 cots and another 100 on standby.
“The biggest need right now is going to be for housing,” said Gretchen Hjelmstad, Regional Communications Officer for the Red Cross’ Dakota Region, further adding that many people have just lost everything.
Uprooted trees, downed power lines and other damaged buildings were also reported.
If you’re in an area where tornadoes are likely to form, you will have to prepare to minimize the damage caused by the twisters and make it easier build up again. Check out this article on what to do before, during and after a tornado.