Officials Assess Damage After Elk City Tornado

Fire Chaplain Danny Ringer told reporters at the scene late Tuesday that one person was known dead from the twister, although details were lacking.

One person died and 25 people were injured after a twister tore through the small town of Chetek in western Wisconsin around 5.45pm local time on Tuesday, causing massive wreckage.

The National Weather Service says the storm started Tuesday night in the panhandle of Oklahoma and tracked into Kansas.

"Our rapid response assessors are in Elk City and nearby storm-affected areas, and we are going to continue to follow the storms", Sam Porter, director of Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief, told KOCO-TV.

Amazingly, Nolan escaped with just a couple of scratches.

Authorities say the victim who died when a tornado destroyed a mobile home park in northwestern Wisconsin was a 46-year-old man.

The National Weather Service in Norman has not yet released information about the strength of the tornado, but tweeted early Wednesday that it will be surveying the damage. The enhanced F-scale runs from EF0 to EF5. 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.

The twister packed winds of 120 to 130 miles per hour, or even slightly stronger, when it hit the park, according to the weather service. The NWS has confirmed one person was killed in Barron County and more than 25 other people were hurt.

Tod Pritchard, a state Emergency Management spokesman, said there also was a report of a tornado in Rusk County.

Knowing thousands of residents living in a mobile home can be in the path of a tornado makes communicating safety a challenge for meteorologists and emergency managers. Officials are allowing some residents back into the area at around noon today. One home collapsed and first responders rescued an occupant. Pictured is an image of the Tornado damage in Oklahoma. Within a minute, the roof and walls of her mobile home were gone. At this time, all residents of the mobile home park have been accounted for. Yeah, the house is completely gone. Lenna suffered a gash on her head.

The sheriff said that in his more than 20 years of law enforcement, he has never seen storm damage like this. "Again, because we're just not used to that kind of thing", he said.

Emergency crews are assessing the damage, but Fitzgerald estimates the damages to be in the millions.

Tornadoes reportedly touched down in five states Tuesday night, including Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas, in addition to Wisconsin. Trees were flattened or splintered and dozens of homes were destroyed.

  • Leroy Wright