RUSK CO.: Relief efforts, resources available to tornado victims - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

RUSK CO.: Relief efforts, resources available to tornado victims


Rusk County (WQOW) - Recovery efforts continue in Rusk County after a tornado ripped through northwestern Wisconsin on May 16.

In a press release sent on Friday, Rusk County Emergency Management said the hardest areas hit by tornado include County W/Log Cabin Road, southwest of Weyerhaeuser, Amacoy Lake area south of Bruce and the Conrath area.

The National Weather Service determined the tornado reached EF-3 levels, through Barron and Rusk Counties, with the strongest path along the Conrath area in Rusk County.

Emergency management officials said estimated damage to properties in northwestern Wisconsin are in excess of $11 million. Of that, Rusk County officials said preliminary damage assessments show nearly 100 residential properties were damaged in excess of $2 million. Also, at least six commercial properties were damaged. They said several agricultural communities experienced significant losses to their properties, including livestock, feed and buildings.

Rusk County officials said recovery and response work in the county are now transitioning from addressing health and safety issues and immediate needs to focusing on the long-term recovery and rebuilding by those impacted.

They said the Small Business Administration (SBA) will be touring the damage on Tuesday, June 6 to determine if damages to residential and commercial properties meet the requirements of the SBA loans.

If you have not received a call from Rusk County Emergency Management regarding your damage and insurance coverage, call 715-532-2121, so that your property can be a part of the SBA review.


Since mid-May, Rusk County officials said more than 300 volunteers have put in more than 2,000 hours of time to help with cleanup efforts. In addition, they said crews from the Wisconsin prison system have spent the last two weeks removing and cutting up debris. 

If you would like to volunteer, call "211".


Monetary donations are still being accepted at the following locations:

  • Pioneer State Bank, 400 West 9th Street North, Ladysmith, Wis. 54848
  • Ladysmith Federal, 119 West 4th Street North, Ladysmith, Wis. 54848

Funds will be used to support volunteer work, including lunches, supplies, etc.

Other donations, including indoor/outdoor cleaning supplies, bedding, household goods and furniture and clothing, are being accepted at the Connections Store in Ladysmith (500 West 9th Street North, Ladysmith, Wis. 54848), which is designated as the Rusk County donation center.


Disaster victims should continue to document damage (making a detailed list of all damaged or lost property and taking photos). You can also provide the information to Rusk County Emergency Management by calling "211". The information gathered will be used to help determine what possible state programs may be available to provide recovery assistance. Most disaster aid would only cover uninsured losses for primary residences. It is not designed to replace personal items but rather to assist with home repairs.

If you need assistance to clear debris from the recent storm damage, call "211". They will need your name, phone number and location.

If you need general recovery assistance and resources:

  • call "211" and a Rusk County officials will follow-up with you.
  • call the American Red Cross for immediate needs (715-559-7365)

If you need immediate financial assistance due to lost or not suitable housing as a result from the storm, a few resources are potentially available:

  • WHEDA emergency funds are being administered through the Northwest Regional Planning Commission (715-635-2197)
  • Workforce Resource has emergency funds primarily for families with children (855-792-5439)

Those in the agricultural community with damage and in need of assistance:

  • Contact the local Farm Service Agency/USDA office
    • Ladysmith (715-532-3786)
    • Barron (715-537-5645)
  • For damage to conservation structure or fencing, contact the Rusk County Land & Water Conservation (715-532-2162)

If you need counseling, mental health or other service programs, call the Rusk County Health and Human Services (715532-2299)

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