Sheriff: 1 dead after tornado hits Wisconsin trailer park

The Storm Prediction Center, which specializes in forecasting and gathering data on tornadoes, says that high winds during a tornado can rip a mobile home without a foundation from its moorings.

Authorities say at least one person was hurt when a tornado touched down in central Kansas.

The twister struck at a trailer park along US 53 in the Barron County town of Prairie Lake, about midway between Chetek and Cameron.

The severe weather also caused extensive damage to several turkey barns across from the mobile home park.

Another tornado flattened much of a subdivision on the southern fringe of Elk City, Oklahoma, about 110 miles (180 kilometers) west of Oklahoma City.

Storms whipped through a wide swath of the central USA, forming tornadoes that flattened a Wisconsin mobile home park and an Oklahoma subdivision and killing at least two people and injuring dozens of others.

The National Weather Service will be surveying damage in northwest Wisconsin Wednesday morning after a deadly tornado tore through the region Tuesday.

Barron County sheriff's department officials say 46-year-old Eric Gavin was killed Tuesday evening by the tornado that destroyed the Prairie Lake Estates Mobile Home Park near Chetek. Approximately 40 trailer homes were destroyed at the Prairie Lake Estate Mobile Park in Cameron, as well as a nearby turkey farm, according to Wisconsin Emergency Management.

The storms hit late in the afternoon Tuesday and into the evening, leveling the Prairie Lake Estate Mobile Park near Chetek, Wisconsin. He estimated the park had around 50 homes.

Devin Feuerhelm told KMSP-TV that his sister, Lenna Samuelson, lives in the Wisconsin trailer park with her two daughters, Ashley and Brenna.

Amazingly, Nolan escaped with just a couple of scratches, he said. Samuelson's daughters suffered minor injuries, and the mother suffered a gash on her head, but he said all are expected to be fine.

Images shot from a helicopter for CNN affiliate KFOR showed homes with their roofs ripped off. Photos from the scene showed flattened homes and debris and furniture strewn across streets.

A mobile home is a particularly unsafe place to be during a tornado, according to the National Weather Service. In 2011, when devastating tornadoes struck in Joplin, Missouri, and in Alabama and MS, 111 of the 551 people killed nationwide in tornadoes, or 20 percent, were in mobile homes, according to the Storm Prediction Center website.

Earlier Tuesday, severe weather moved through parts of the Twin Cities metro earlier in the day.

Fitzgerald said local and state officials are calling it a tornado, but that hasn't been confirmed by the National Weather Service, he said.

(Stacey Valdez via AP). Early reports said there were multiple casualties, but it was not known if that included fatalities.

Smith said Wednesday that it appears the most damaging tornado was on the ground for five to 10 miles (eight to 16 kilometers) in the area of Elk City, Oklahoma.

  • Joanne Flowers