Watford City Looking To Improve Tornado Safety

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Watford City – After a deadly tornado hit Watford City last July, McKenzie County and Watford City leaders are looking at new ways to keep people safe when the skies darken.

Watford City is one of North Dakota’s fastest growing communities, jumping over 50-percent since 2010…you can thank the oil boom for that.

But with new neighbors come new challenges…like, making sure everyone knows how to act and what to do when severe weather, especially Tornadoes strike.

And that includes children…One person spearheading this action is Brad Foss, the Principal of Watford City’s Intermediate School.

“We want to be able to respond to a warning or if the siren blares, or whatever, we want to be able to get to a safe room, which is a designated spot around the school, we want to be in that room within less than two minutes.” Said Brad Foss the Principal of the Watford City Intermediate School.

So the school plans on conducting a Tornado Drill, to educate students on how to act during severe weather.

Students KX News spoke with tell us they’re glad it’s happening…

“I think drills are important to know what to do, because recently we had a lockdown at the High School and some students didn’t know what to do and I feel like it’s important that we need to know what to do in order if something was real, so if we had a real tornado, we’d know what to do.” Said 6th Grader Sasha Stieg.

“I think that’s neat, I think we should have Tornado drills in case one does hit.” Said 6th Grader Luke Smith.

Students from 6th grade on down are also getting this Children’s book detailing how to act during a tornado.

McKenzie County Emergency Manager Karolin Jappe tells me that several Tornado Sirens in and around Watford City are in the process of being upgraded, a Community Emergency Response Team should be up an running by later this summer and a new radar is expected to be installed at the Williston Airport this year…all important items that will hopefully prevent additional tragedies like last July’s deadly Tornado.

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