More than two dozen people were injured as the tornado felled trees and tossed cars and trailers about. “While there is tragedy, what we have going on here is a miracle”, said Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald. “When I got back and got back to my trailer, my neighbors, some people were helping the lady out of the trailer and her husband was buried inside”, recalls Dale Daily.
Firefighters work the site of the damage after a tornado ripped through Prairie Lake Estates trailer home park, just north of Chetek, Wis., Tuesday, May 16, 2017.
Fitzgerald said local and state officials are calling it a tornado, but that hasn’t been confirmed by the National Weather Service, he said. A stand of trees just east of the trailer park was reduced to a clump of trunks, with hundreds of articles of clothing and pieces of insulation dangling from them like surrender flags. Gas and electricity had to be shut down for safety, so numerous responders were working in the dark. All other park residents had been accounted for as of 11:35 p.m. Tuesday. Seventeen people were hospitalized.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management remains activated due to the effects of severe weather and the threat for continued severe weather this week, officials said in a news release.
Authorities identified the man killed as Eric Gavin, 45, whose body was found outside his damaged trailer.
Sandra Jackson was one of the residents who returned Wednesday to see what could be salvaged from their homes. However, Fire Chaplain Danny Ringer said that one person died because of the twister.
School was canceled Wednesday for the Chetek-Weyerhaeuser Area School District and the district said that the High school building was open for people needing hot showers.
NWS meteorologist Rick Smith said the most damaging tornado was on the ground for five to 10 miles in the area of Elk City, Oklahoma. Campers landed in nearby lakes, he said.
“We ended up on the rubble, glass and stuff underneath us”, said Gloria Myer, who lost her home.
Bynum, 48, said he was doing what many people do when the weather picks up: watching it in his yard. “It’s heartwarming. Everybody wants to help”. Additional needs will be shared with the community when known.
The American Red Cross has two reception centers set up. He said he was not aware of any injuries in that touchdown.
The emergency shelter was set up at Mosaic Telecom. There was no immediate word on any damage or possible injuries from that twister.
The Twin Cities station of the National Weather Service tweeted a photo of large hailstones that fell in the town of Barron, with the largest 3 inches in diameter.
Fallin said Tuesday that her request is for 18 counties affected by storms that produced three. “It quickly gained strength over Washington County”.