North Dakota Tornado Surprises Oil Workers at Camping Area

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By Daniel Joseph Cruz | May 29, 2014 11:07 AM EST

RV house parking workers were hit with a tornado that injured nine people and damaged 15 trailers at Watford City, North Dakota on Memorial Day, May 26. Among the injured people, a 15-year-old girl was caught in the catastrophic event suffering serious injuries. The North Dakota tornado peaked at 120 mph winds, the National Weather Service said Tuesday.

The tornado landed Monday night at the workers camp five miles south of Watford City, and about 50 miles southeast of Willston. The 15-year-old girl, who was in the area when the twister started, was rushed to the hospital. She suffered a critical head injury but is now recovering, McKenzie County Emergency Manager Jerry Samuelson said Tuesday.

Samuelson did not reveal the girl's name and other background information.

The other eight people suffered fewer injuries and just made it in time to escape during the tornado's devastation. They were already treated at Watford City hospital.

 
No sirens or local alarms warned the housing workers in North Dakota's oil patch when the tornado hit. "Even with warning, there are scant places to take cover in the wide-open plain," the ABC News reports.

With the recent tornado event, officials said they started to discuss among companies and others on setting up protective shelters to better protect the workers who have taken temporary living in that region.

North Dakota's area that has a huge potential for the oil industry attracted workers in droves. These workers quickly set up and assembled make shift camps, trailer parks, and prefabricated military-like barracks.

Most of the workers had nowhere to take cover. The twister went the path leading to the workers only escape route, forcing them to just "duck and cover" in their current locations back then.

Meteorologist Ken Simosko commented that the increase in setting up more temporary shelters due to the area's growing industry, poses more destructive threats from tornadoes. He concludes that people who live in trailers are always in great danger when natural catastrophic events hit because there is no protection.

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