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Red Cross responds to tornadoes across Wisconsin

Officials in southern parts of the United States are gearing up for another season of severe storms.

Last week, northern Wisconsinreported tornadoes of their own touching down and there was widespread storm damage across the state.

WXPR’s Hannah Davis-Reid spoke with local experts about expectations for this summer and how to respond in emergencies.

On the evening of May 21st, tornado sirens were ringing across the state.

In the western Marathon County town of Unity, a tornado actually touched down, impacting power lines and wrecking havoc.

However, that same night, the impact was far worse in the small Iowa town of Greenfield, where a tornado killed multiple and injured many others.

In all, on May 21st, 13 tornadoes were reported across the state, some in northern Wisconsin.

The Red Cross is an emergency support organization with branches all over the country.

Their North Central branch responded after the tornado on the 21st.

This is the branch’s Interim Executive Director, Mary Jane Thompson.

“There was a senior living facility where the roof was ripped off by a tornado, and we set up a shelter for those residents,” said Thompson.

She says it’s important to know that your local Red Cross stands ready to help.

“We will see more extreme weather this summer in the coming days and weeks and it's essential that residents take the threat seriously, and to not fall into storm fatigue. We've seen a lot of this in the past week or so,” she said.

She says it’s also important to keep an eye on how members of your community respond to the aftermath of severe weather events, since they can be really stressful.

“Red Cross stands ready to also in the aftermath of a disaster provide health and mental health services. So, there's ways to recover,” said Thompson.

You can learn how to build an emergency preparedness kit on the Red Cross’ website.

There’s also a Red Cross app with safety information, severe weather alerts, and shelter locations.

Richard Mamrosh is a senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service of Green Bay.

He says that through the middle to end of June, it looks like the Northwoods don't have the same high chance of severe storms as places in the Deep South like Oklahoma.

As the climate changes and average temperatures increase, many parts of the country are bracing for more regular severe weather events, but Mamrosh says that extreme storms will probably remain an anomaly for the Northwoods.

“Even in the future, if it does get, on average, a degree or two warmer over the next decades or whatnot, I wouldn't expect it to become a place like, you know, the Deep South where they get a lot of severe weather for a long period of time,” he said.

That’s because we get enough pushes of cool, dry air from Canada to protect us.

Still, officials from the Red Cross urge people to prepare for emergencies just in case and avoid falling into storm fatigue.

Hannah Davis-Reid is a WXPR Reporter.
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