CONCORD, Wis. — An EF-1 tornado struck Concord, Wisconsin in late July of 2021. Winds were over 100 mph, and the tornado left a path of damage that included the Neumann home.
Rebecca Neumann and her family were at home in the basement when the tornado struck. Thanks to the steps the family took ahead of the storm, they made it out with no injuries.
The TMJ4 Storm Team and meteorologists across the state were forecasting severe storms for the night of July 28, 2021. In the days ahead of the storm, confidence continued to build around the severe weather potential. This got the attention of Neumann.
"It sounded like this one was going to be pretty bad," Neumann recalls. "Everybody went down to the basement and we just kind hunkered down and were watching the Olympics and were watching what was going on with the weather. Our weather radio was going off."
Just after 1 A.M.on the morning of July 29, a tornado formed near Concord, and would take a path toward Dousman. The Neumann home directly in the path.
"And then it hit, and that sound of a freight train is no joke. It sounded like a freight train was running through our house and crushing things as it went through. Chaos is probably the best word I could use to describe it," Neumann said.
After a sleepless night, daylight revealed the true scope of the damage.
"Just incredible to see what was just a few hours before, and it was gone just like that. I mean, within minutes, it was just gone," Neumann remembers.
It would be over eight months before the house was repaired and the family could return home. Despite extensive damage to the home, no one in the Neumann family was hurt that night thanks to their preparedness ahead of the storm.
"I think the outcome would have been very different if we had been in our bedrooms and not paying attention to what was going on," Neumann said.
Tim Halbach from the Milwaukee National Weather Service was working that night.
"We we're really concerned about how to do we reach people in the middle of the night when they might not have a lot of time to get to their shelter," said Halbach.
Bruce Jones of Midland Radio Corporation loves to hear success stories like the Neumann's. But he also hears about tragedy after storms.
"We hear stories from people who say, 'I wish we had a weather radio, because we didn't have one, and I lost one of our children when a tornado destroyed our home.' And that is just absolutely heartbreaking because the system is there, and it works."
This is a success story about being prepared for severe weather. Neumann and her family did everything right. They were watching the forecast, were proactive about sheltering in the basement, had a weather radio, and were getting updates on their cell phones.
Storm Team 4 encourages everyone to have multiple ways to get access to weather warning information. Additionally, it's important to closely follow local forecasts and local meteorologists for the most up-to-date information during severe weather season.
You can download the FREE Storm Shield App, which will send location based alerts right to your phone by clicking here.