A newborn baby was killed and more than two dozen people were injured when a tornado whipped through a North Dakota oil patch city overnight, overturning recreational vehicles and demolishing more than 100 structures, officials said Tuesday.
The storm moved through Watford City, in the northwestern part of the state, shortly after midnight, hitting an RV park the hardest, according to sheriff’s officials. About 20 of the reported 28 injured were staying at the Prairie View RV Park, where high winds overturned some campers and damaged mobile homes.
The McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release late Tuesday that a 1-week-old boy died from injuries sustained when the family’s trailer home flipped in the storm. The child’s name was not immediately released.
National Weather Service meteorologist John Paul Martin classified the tornado as an EF2, which is defined by winds speeds between 111 and 135 mph. He said wind speeds reached 127 mph in Watford City.
Clifford Bowden, 37, was in his recreational vehicle when the storm struck.
“My dog was with me and the next thing you knew the storm picked up my camper and slammed it on the ground. It felt like we were weightless,” Bowden said.
“It was scary. I feel like I’m a pretty tough guy. But, this storm, it made me shake uncontrollably,” he added.
Authorities reported that 122 structures in the RV park were completely destroyed. In addition to those structures, there were 79 with moderate damage and 120 with minor to no damage.
Karolin Jappe, the McKenzie County emergency manager, said the RV park is one of the largest such facilities to spring up during the oil boom in the area and that there were some mobile homes on the property.