North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford and Maj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann, adjutant general of the North Dakota National Guard, surveyed tornado damage in Watford City Tuesday evening and met with local officials and residents displaced by the storm to discuss local response efforts and needs.
“First and foremost, we offer our deepest condolences to the parents of the 1-week-old boy who died from injuries sustained in the tornado. Our hearts go out to their family and friends and all of those injured and displaced by the storm,” Burgum said. “We’re extremely grateful to the dozens of agencies and hundreds of first responders, law enforcement officers, medical staff, volunteers and other community members who have come to the aid of their neighbors in need. As cleanup and recovery efforts get under way, the state stands ready to deploy assistance wherever it’s needed.”
The McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office reported 28 people were treated for injuries after the tornado struck the Prairie View RV Park, with nine critically injured and at least three people transported by air ambulance. Officials estimate as many as 200 people were displaced.
Sanford, a Watford City native who was mayor of the city from 2010 to 2016, and Dohrmann, who oversees the state Department of Emergency Services that has been coordinating tornado response with local officials and the American Red Cross, joined the governor in touring the devastation at the tornado site, where RVs, mobile homes and outbuildings were tossed, flattened and reduced to rubble. A preliminary assessment found 122 structures destroyed, 79 structures with moderate to severe damage and 120 with minor damage.
The governor and lieutenant governor also visited the shelter coordinated by the American Red Cross at the Watford City Civic Center, where more than 50 displaced adults and children planned to spend the night, and met with local officials at the McKenzie County Courthouse to discuss next steps in the recovery process and lessons that could be learned from the storm.
A section on the Watford City tornado has been added to www.ndresponse.gov, the state’s website for accurate and timely information when major events impact citizens. In addition to aerial video of the tornado damage, the site will contain tornado-related news updates and safety information for tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.
A relief fund for tornado victims has been set up at Cornerstone Bank in Watford City. Volunteers wanting to help with clean-up and recovery are asked to report to the Subway at 105 9th Ave. S.E., while volunteers with heavy equipment, light towers or other equipment are asked to check in at the Eagles at 1904 Main St. S.