A tornado that touched down Tuesday morning around 1 a.m. has left a path of destruction behind at the Prairie View RV Park, and now residents and volunteers are now picking up the pieces.
“It was pretty scary from seeing it spinning. It looked like it was several miles away, to it being right on top of you, ” said Jason Wiler, a resident at the Prairie View RV Park.
The National Weather Service reports the storm was an EF-2 tornado with winds more than 120 miles an hour when it hit near Watford City.
The McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office reports the storm left more than 100 structures completely destroyed, and the American Red Cross said 170 people were receiving food, water and emergency shelter.
Wiler said he is better off than some, because his property suffered primarily water damage where some of the homes next to his were “obliterated”, but he is still without a home for a while.
“I pretty much have to find a place to stay for a week until I can get back in”.
The American red Cross arrived in Watford early Tuesday morning, and Rob Stotz, Executive Director Red Cross of Western North Dakota, said the community has done an amazing job of providing in-kind donations, but they are really in need of “housing” for displaced people and families.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum also stopped by the area to offer his support with Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, a Watford City native who was mayor of the city from 2010 to 2016.
“For those that have been displaced, we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to help get them settled again, ” said Burgum.
More than 100 volunteers showed at Watford City on Tuesday to help families gather what remains of their belongings, and to offer food and water.
A deputy with the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office said they expect somewhere around 500 volunteers on Wednesday.
“I cannot believe the overwhelming amount of support we’ve received from this community, ” said Stotz.
Around 1 p.m. on Tuesday residents and property owners were allowed back into the park to collect their belongings until 9 p.m.
They will be allowed back again Wednesday morning around 7 a.m.
The storm injured 28 r people, nine of them critically, but the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office recently reported a week old baby who was severely hurt- died of his injuries.