Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
WATFORD CITY, N.D. (AP) — A tornado severely damaged about 15 trailers housing workers in North Dakota’s oil patch on Monday, the National Weather Service said.
It wasn’t immediately clear if anyone was injured when the twister struck the camp about five miles south of Watford City, in the western part of the state about 30 miles southeast of the oil boom hub city of Williston.
In one video posted to YouTube, a woman is heard praying as the tornado approaches: “Oh Jesus, Father God in Heaven. Oh my Jesus. We’ve got nowhere to go.”
Another YouTube clip recorded from what appears to be yard shows the twister from a distance, an American flag blowing in the gathering wind:
People who answered the phone at the McKenzie County Sheriff’s Office and McKenzie County Hospital in Watford City declined to discuss the matter.
Check out heart-pounding video of tornado as it approaches trailers.
The oil boom has led to a population explosion in western North Dakota, bringing in tens of thousands of people looking for work. Many reside in hastily-assembled trailer parks or man camps that contain prefabricated structures that can resemble military barracks. Some companies rent blocks of hotel rooms for employees to live in, and some workers sleep in their cars or even tents.
Housing developments are constantly popping up in big areas of town that didn’t exist on maps a couple of years ago. But they still aren’t able to keep pace with demand — and oil money has pushed rents to among the highest in the nation: renting a simple one-bedroom apartment in Williston can easily cost $2,000 a month. Even a spot to park a trailer can cost more than $800 per month.
This story has been updated.