By the time September rolls around, leaves are beginning to change and the air is starting to feel more crisp. People's minds generally sway away from thoughts of severe weather and tornadoes, but it is not that uncommon in North Central Wisconsin.
Fourteen years ago on Labor Day, an F3 tornado devastated the town of Ladysmith, leaving over 20 million dollars in damage. This storm continued eastward and produced another tornado in Taylor County and two tornadoes in Marathon county, one that went through the north side of Wausau. The police chief of Ladysmith at the time, Norm Rozak, said, “It surprises me right now, looking at this devastation, that nobody to our knowledge is deceased.”
The “Big Breeze” tornado of August 31st, 1977 was another late season tornado that also did extensive damage in Rib Mountain and Wausau, but once again there were no deaths.
Since the Big Flats tornado in '94 claimed two lives, there have been 107 tornadoes in our viewing area, and miraculously no one has died. So great job to you all for successfully living out Wisconsin Emergency Managements “Listen, Act, and Live” campaign.
Governor Walker has declared September “Preparedness Month” in Wisconsin, a time for everyone to go over or develop a plan in case of severe weather or another emergency. Whether you're at home or elsewhere, you should have a reliable way to receive warnings, like from a weather radio or text message alerts. Know the safest place to take shelter both at home, and especially away from home, and practice a mock severe warning. If you're at home, take shelter in the basement or lowest level in an interior room protect your head with pillows, blankets, and even a bike helmet. If you're away from home, find the closest sturdy building and take shelter, and remember to never take shelter under an overpass. Prepare and practice your plan now, so when severe weather strikes, you can quickly act, and live.