Red Cross Workers in Okla. Describe 'Double Whammy'

Red Cross workers from the Philadelphia-area who are in Oklahoma say they were in recovery mode, but now it's back to the beginning.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    KFOR-TV
    A violent storm formed over the prairie west of Oklahoma City on Friday, dropping near El Reno before the storm moved east toward Oklahoma City.

    Nearly two weeks after a devastating tornado tore through the Oklahoma City area killing 24 people, the community is hit again by another round of tornadoes that killed a woman and her baby.

    "It's a double whammy here, a double whammy," says Danelle Stoppel, a Disaster Mental Health supervisor for the Red Cross, who talked to NBC Philadelphia over the phone after tonight's powerful storm system.

    Stoppel is at the National Postal Training Center in Moore, Oklahoma, an 800 room facility that tonight is serving as a shelter for area families.

    "Its been rough," Stoppel says, describing the lighting, thunder and "incredible rain" they heard from inside the building.

    Warning sirens sounded for about two hours, which Stoppel says was difficult for the families who lived through the storms earlier this month to hear again. "They relived it tonight, very dramatic, very tough night," Stoppel says.

    Kay Rossi, a Red Cross case worker, has been in Oklahoma City all week, but left the area to visit her brother in Tulsa before the storm system moved through.

    "I hope I don't have to see a tornado while I'm out here. For the last three days the weather has been horrible," says Rossi, who has spent the night watching television to keep updated on what's happening.

    After being deployed six times with the Red Cross, Rossi says this is her first tornado response.

    She calls it an eye-opener. "After hearing these stories and you know what a tornado can do, it frightens you even more," Rossi says.

    Rossi describes some of the heartbreaking stories she hears as a case worker, but says she stays strong for the victims. "You can't wait to go back and help them again." And they will need more help.

    Shelters that were closing down, will now be opening up again, according to Stoppel, who says the Red Cross will meet Saturday morning to figure out their plan.

    "The Red Cross was in recovery mode, now we're sort of back to the beginning," Stoppel says. "This poor area has been through so much, it amazes me. One wonders how much more they can take."

     


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