11-year-old girl crushed to death by fallen tree as she camped with her family as storms sweep the Midwest
- A thunderstorm with winds of 110 mph swept through Minnesota and Wisconsin
- Girl dies at campsite after being hit by fallen tree
- 37 people were injured in Burnett County, Wisconsin, 3 seriously
- Tens of thousands of people took advantage of nature for the holidays
A severe thunderstorm swept through a rural Wisconsin county teeming with vacation campers, knocking down trees that killed an 11-year-old girl, blew up boats ashore and injured more than three dozen people, officials said on Saturday.
The storm swept through Minnesota and Wisconsin on Friday, causing winds of up to 110 miles per hour and hail as large as soft bullets.
In Burnett County, northern Wisconsin, at least 37 people have gone to hospital after the storm knocked down hundreds of trees and left several thousand utility customers without power.
Loss: Lory and Dan Deasey of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, sitting on the steps of their ruined trailer at the Log Cabin Hollow campsite on Yellow Lake near Webster, Wisconsin on Saturday July 2, 2011
Log Cabin Hollow Campground on Yellow Lake near Webster, Wisconsin sustained heavy damage in Friday night’s storm
Three of these injuries were reported as critical.
Dawn Sargent, a public information official for Burnett County, told MailOnline.com that all of the missing people were found on Saturday evening.
A search was undertaken earlier today along the St. Croix River for missing canoeists, the Wisconsin Emergency Management Office reported.
Boats were overturned and blown ashore in the area, while an airport hangar in neighboring Douglas County collapsed.
Law enforcement officials reported that the deceased girl was killed when a tree fell on her at a campsite in the country.
Ms Sargent would provide further details of the girl’s death, saying her entire family had not yet been informed.
But the local inter-county chief cited the Burnett County Sheriff’s Department as saying the 11-year-old was from Hinckley, Minnesota.
The newspaper reports that the girl was killed when a tree fell on her at Scenic View Campground on Poquette Lake, about 15 miles east of Siren.
Dave Mann, manager of Batten International Airport in Racine, Wisconsin, inspects a Lockheed C-130 aircraft that has been displaced 31 feet by storm winds
Shot Down: Megan Martinez poses next to a downed silver maple tree on Friday, July 1, 2011 after it was uprooted in her family’s backyard in Racine, Wisconsin
Ms Sargent told MailOnline.com that a second death is believed to be linked to the storm, after a man aged 50 to 60 died of a heart attack.
The Inter-County Leader reported that the man’s death was initially believed to be storm-related, but authorities said on Saturday afternoon that it was unrelated.
The storm came at one of the worst times of the year for rural Burnett County: a summer vacation weekend, when the area’s lakes and rivers draw tens of thousands of visitors, a said Julie Kittleson of the county emergency response center.
Ms Kittleson said: “The population here is around 15,000. But this weekend it’s probably around 80,000,” she said of the county, which is about 90 miles south. northeast of Minneapolis.
The storm moved into southwestern Minnesota on Friday afternoon and took nearly six hours to pass through before creeping into northwestern Wisconsin, said Matt Friedlein, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
The bad weather had receded by Saturday morning, as the skies were clear and sunny with temperatures in the 80s.
Most of the damage occurred on the west side of Yellow Lake northeast of Birch Island Lake.
The village of Grantsburg is closed because authorities are concerned about gas leaks from uprooted trees.
Tragedy scene: An 11-year-old girl died in this week’s storm after being struck by a tree at Scenic View Campground on Poquette Lake in Wisconsin
Authorities are not yet disclosing the girl’s name as her entire family has not been informed of the crash
Burnett County Emergency Operations Center has been activated in Siren for storm victims.
Anita Frase, owner of the Bay Park Resort & Campground in Trego, said she and the 300 visitors to the resort knew a storm was coming, but they didn’t expect it to strike so quickly and with a such intensity.
Ms Frase said: “Around 9 am the winds picked up and in five minutes they were over us. These are probably the darkest skies I have ever seen here.”
She added that the storm brought down several trees, some of which landed on vehicles.
âA lot of people were very nervous. Some of the children were crying, âshe said.
Workers were also shaken at a Grantsburg store near the St. Croix River that rented canoes, kayaks and equipment.
Store saleswoman Aimee Van Tatenhove said the wind was so strong and strong that no one noticed that a medium-sized tree had fallen into the roof until the employees came out.
A map of Scenic View Campground, where a young girl died in this week’s storm
Peaceful scene: Scenic View Campground in happier days, before a storm hits its grounds
In Minnesota, a driver was injured when a baseball-sized hail hit a vehicle’s windshield, Meeker County Sheriff Jeff Norlin said. Roofs have been ripped off in several towns.
McLeod County Emergency Management Director Kevin Mathews said: “Some communities have had multiple passes during this storm – including golf ball, baseball and softball sized hail. “.
Mr. Mathews added that two semi-trailers were swept away by local highways.
Two Minnesota state parks suffered such extensive damage to trees that a conservation officer who made sure no campers were in the area had to abandon their vehicle and walk on foot, said Chris Niskanen of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Mr Niskanen urged people to stay out of Camden State Park and St. Croix State Park, which are technically closed due to the state government shutdown but could still attract campers because these are public lands.
He warned that some trees may have fallen but have clung to other trees.
Mr Niskanen said: “It’s a matter of health and safety. Since these parks are closed, they don’t have the staff to come in and remove (the trees). People need to know that there are is in danger if they start to wander â.