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Service groups are lining up to help those in need after a severe storm rattled La Crosse yesterday afternoon. The Red Cross is coordinating efforts with local first responders to get people back in their homes to collect personal items. The organization is also spending the day doing mobile feeding in the areas affected by the apparent tornado and helping out police and fire personnel and has had an emergency shelter at Central high set up since yesterday. The Salvation Army is helping distribute supplies at its downtown office and had set up a canteen for first responders starting last night. The YMCA in La Crosse today says it has its doors open for anyone in area. The Y says it will provide soap, towels, a warm shower, or just a place to relax for those affected by yesterday's storms.
An apparent tornado ripped La Crosse from edge to edge late afternoon. A path of destruction from Isle La Plume to the bluffs on the southside left all of the city's firefighters and police officers--plus some help from departments outside the city--scrambling into the night. The storm toppled numerous trees, shredded rooftops, tore whole chunks from the sides of some buildings and made a mishmash spaghetti out of powerlines. The tornado traveled along a path that stretched for a mile, 3-4 blocks wide. Gundersen Lutheran also appears to have sustained some damage and did lose power during the storm. Gundersen will not hold any appointments in either the East or Founder's Buildings Monday. Meanwhile, mayor Harter has declared a state of emergency in the city and two emergency relief shelters have been set up at Central high and Lincoln middle schools. La Crosse schools will be open on Monday. Thousands in La Crosse were still without power by nightfall with a prediction from Xcel that all should be restored by the end of the day Monday.
The windstorm that ripped through La Crosse on Sunday has left some people homeless. Part of an apartment building on Cook Street, near the Green Island Ice Arena, was torn away by high winds. Police have set up shelters at Central High School and Lincoln Middle School. Several streets near West Avenue have been blocked off because of downed trees and other damage. There was a partial collapse at the Pepsi Bottling Plant in La Crosse, and extensive roof damage reported at K-Mart on State Road.
Senator Dan Kapanke says that Vernon County's P.L. 566 Dams will be eligible for Stewardship funds in the coming year based on a motion passed in Thursday’s Joint Finance Committee hearing on the 2011-13 biennium budget. The primary function of the 22 dams is flood control and safety.
2 people were seriously hurt in a one car crash early Thursday morning. The crash happened just before 2am on Highway 27 in the village of Melvina.
A Mercury Villager van lost control on the highway, left the road and hit a rock embankment. The van then traveled across the highway coming to rest on the east shoulder of the road and started on fire.
Injured were 28 year old Jolene Hansen of Cashton and 42 year old Julie Arttus of Norwalk. Hansen was transported to Franciscan Skemp Hospital in Sparta. Arttus was transported to Gundersen Lutheran Hospital in LaCrosse by Med-Link Air.