Tornadoes Flatten Homes and Structures in Wisconsin, Oklahoma

Angie Massey
May 19, 2017

The National Weather Service says the storm started Tuesday night in the panhandle of Oklahoma and tracked into Kansas. Fire Chaplain Danny Ringer told reporters at the scene late Tuesday that one person was known dead from the twister.

The Whitewater Unified School District canceled classes at its five schools because of a lack of electricity.

The violent tornado packing 120-130mph winds went right through the heart of Prairie Lake Estate Mobile Park. "While there is tragedy, what we have going on here is a miracle", said Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald.

Forecasters say the storms could bring "strong long-track tornadoes" in central and southern Kansas into western Oklahoma along with baseball-sized hail. The storm struck about 7:15 p.m. a subdivision south of Elk City, Oklahoma, almost 110 miles west of Oklahoma City.

Beckham County Emergency Management Director Lonnie Risenhoover told the Associated Press "a lot of tornado damage" was reported in the Elk County area. Winds hit 66 miles an hour in Marshfield in the afternoon, as utility poles snapped and one business was damaged. Cattle have been killed, but he says he has no immediate reports of human injuries.

By evening, the National Weather Service listed almost 20 reports of tornadoes from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Wisconsin, although some of those could be multiple reports of the same tornado.

A 46-year-old man was killed and more than 25 others were injured Tuesday evening when a reported tornado devastated a trailer park near Chetek in western Wisconsin.

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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.

Sheriff's dispatchers say they're too busy to provide details.

"A few trailers on the perimeter are still standing, but everything in the middle is completely gone", Chetek police Officer Cody Stauner told the Leader-Telegram.

A wide swath of damage extended east into neighboring Rusk County where seven to eight homes were damaged near Bruce, Fitzgerald said.

Several poultry barns at a turkey processing plant across the street from the trailer park were badly damaged, and turkeys could be seen wandering in the debris.

Scattered tornadoes have been reported in the nation's midsection.

More storms are possible later in the day in the lower Great Lakes region.

Other reports by GizPress

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