The following appeared in The ARRL Letter on September 6, 2002.

An Amateur Radio Emergency Service team is on the scene in the
northwestern Wisconsin community of Ladysmith, which was devastated by a
tornado on Labor Day. ARRL Wisconsin Section Manager Don Michalski, W9IXG,
reports that the first wave of ARES volunteers arrived in the Rusk County
town of nearly 4000 inhabitants at 10 PM Monday, within hours of the
tornado.

Reports indicated that the tornado arrived with little or no warning. "We
were lucky that this hit on a holiday, when the business district was
closed," Michalski remarked. The Ladysmith tornado was one of four that
touched down in the Badger State on Labor Day, but it was by far the most
damaging. Gov Scott McCallum has declared a state of emergency in Rusk
County. Gov McCallum toured Ladysmith on September 3.

Jim Staatz, KG9RA, reports that members of the Eau Claire Amateur Radio
Club and the Tri County Repeater Association have been providing
communication support for the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.
In addition, Paul Brooten, KB9TYC, of the Tri County Repeater Association
reports that the Barron County American Red Cross Amateur Radio Club and
the NORWESCO ARES/RACES team from Washburn County also have been involved
in assisting the relief organizations. Eau Claire County Emergency
Coordinator Rob Indrebo, KB9SDF, also has been among those assisting.

The Red Cross and The Salvation Army opened a shelter at a high school in
Bruce. A toll-free number for people inquiring about family members has
been set up. It's 800-837-6313.

The Salvation Army reports that its emergency disaster relief personnel
immediately went into action following the tornado that also left hundreds
without shelter and thousands without electricity. "Two Salvation Army
canteens have been roving the area offering aid, including meals and
crisis counseling, to residents and relief workers," a Salvation Army news
release stated. The Salvation Army said it also was providing residents
with vouchers to replace prescriptions, clothing and other necessary items
lost in the tornado.

The severe weather that moved across Wisconsin also spawned two tornadoes
in Marathon County--one in Brokaw, near Wausau, and one near Athens--as
well as in the Fond du Lac County town of Brandon. Wind damage was
reported in several other communities.

Wisconsin Emergency Management reports that the tornado that hit Ladysmith
cut a swath some 14 to 16 blocks long and 2 to 4 blocks wide, destroying
numerous businesses and homes. There were no reports of fatalities, but
some 60 people were injured. Most were treated and released. Search and
rescue operations continued throughout the evening of Labor Day. Crews
this week worked to restore power, and all roads were reported open.