(Gillette, Wyo.) For safety reasons, the American Red Cross of Wyoming was not allowed to respond to the area east of Gillette that was hit by Sunday's storms until Monday morning.
According to the Red Cross, three mobile homes were completely destroyed, displacing nine people. There were also 13 other homes damaged by the storm, which Campbell County Emergency Management is now saying contained a small tornado inside of a microburst.
Red Cross has finished assessment of the area but will be available all week for those residents whose homes are considered "destroyed," meaning they are no longer safe for habitation, though not necessarily flattened. Red Cross Disaster Program Manager Cindi Shank explained this because some have decided to stay on their property.
"One of the trailers was literally moved over four or five feet from where it was sitting. It was just pushed," she told County 17. A home can also be considered destroyed if an object is thrown in to it, like the RV that was thrown in to the home on Killdeer Road. Despite this, some are staying.
"People are resilient in Wyoming, like we always see."
After assessment, CCEMA's David King says the yellow triangles on the damage map are not consistent with a microburst. Some debris is wrapped around objects that do not match a straight line wind pattern.
"In other words, it's as if you stood on the east side of the object and then wrapped the tin backwards to the west," King said in a statement. (Red on the map is major damage, green is hail damage or minor damage. The X's are homes that were damaged.)
In addition to eyewitness video we posted earlier, three spotters saw the funnel cloud, one whom stated they saw rotation. After reviewing the eyewitness reports and the video, the National Weather Service out of Rapid City is now declaring a tornado did hit Freedom Hills during the storm front.
"We are going to figure out what the rating will be and the path and width based on the damage," said NWS's Melissa Smith. "We're assessing it right now."
Cindi Shank went on to advise well-meaning citizens wanting to help out to find out what exactly people are in need of before donating.
"There may be specific things they're requesting that they need help with. It's always better to find out what they need instead of just bringing in bags of clothes or couches."
You can find out more about how to volunteer or donate with the Red Cross of Wyoming by clicking here.
Feature photo h/t Kaylee Bauer