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Idaho Red Cross Volunteer Sent To Moore, Oklahoma

Joe Wertz
StateImpact Oklahoma

Louise Nagel has seen her share of destruction. The Red Cross volunteer has responded to floods in Wisconsin and Montana, and hurricanes in Texas and the Northeast.

But this is the first time the Boise resident has dealt with the path left by a tornado – let alone the two-mile-wide path left by last Monday’s twister in Moore, Okla.

Nagel says unlike after a hurricane, the response for a tornado includes continuing to watch the weather. She says yesterday, her time at the Red Cross headquarters was cut short by another tornado warning. She and her fellow aid workers were sent back to their hotel outside of Moore, and spent about half an hour taking cover as more storms were developing in the area.

"You can't see much now," Nagel says as she looks out her window, "it's overcast -- kind of dark -- but solid-colored sky. Earlier, the clouds were moving very fast."

Every morning, volunteers are briefed on that day’s threat for severe weather. All in all, the Idaho native says she feels safe in Oklahoma.

"I'm not scared," she says. "I just have had so much experience with [the Red Cross] that I know they are going to have my safety at the top of their list. It's interesting, I'm curious -- you know, we don't have this in Idaho."

The veteran volunteer is not working with victims directly. Nagel says she misses the face-to-face interaction she had with people after Hurricane Sandy, but she says the Red Cross needed a trainer to prepare volunteers who would be working in their three shelters and helping to distribute aid.

She was sent to Oklahoma on Tuesday and is prepared to be there for a couple of weeks.

According to the Red Cross, about 1,500 homes were destroyed, and about 650 more sustained major damage from the tornado.

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