WI town stunned after twister

BY SUSAN KIM | LADYSMITH, WI | September 3, 2002


The town's warning siren never sounded, so many residents were unprepared for the violent tornado that ripped through Ladysmith's downtown area Monday.

Nearly every major landmark in this rural town of 4,000 has been ruined or altered. Banks, downtown stores and churches, homes and businesses all took the brunt of the sudden tornado.

Dozens of people were injured, though Tuesday morning none of the injuries appeared serious.

A representative from Church World Service was attempting to make contact with congregations in the town Tuesday morning to assess people's needs.

Fewer people were injured than might have been since the downtown area was less crowded than usual due to the Labor Day holiday.

Emergency crews were searching for gas leaks Tuesday morning. Most of the town was still without power.

Another tornado that was part of the same storm system hit a rural area near Wausau.

In Ladysmith, some 60 homes and businesses were destroyed or damaged, preliminary assessments showed. Some 20 people spent Monday night in a shelter opened by the American Red Cross.

Gov. Scott McCallum, who was touring the area Tuesday, declared Ladysmith a disaster area.

Ladysmith is some 100 miles northeast of Minneapolis. Schools in the town were closed Tuesday.

The National Weather Service reported the tornado touched down at 4:30 p.m. The storm had moved out of the area by Monday evening.


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