Severe weather threat sends Memorial Day campers home early

The threat of severe weather is putting a damper on many people’s holiday weekend plans, as the risk of damaging hail and high winds was forecast throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin Sunday evening.

Just outside of Hudson, Wisconsin at Willow River State Park, plenty of campers were packing up early to avoid any risk.

"Everything is metal and canvas so you don’t know what’s going to fall and break your stuff or what’s really safe," said one camper. "I don’t even know where the shelters are or if there are shelters in this area."

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While the possibility of severe storms overnight Sunday decreased by end of day, the risk of tornadoes on Monday sent many packing.

"That is a little bit of a dealbreaker," said another camper. "A tornado is a little worse than just rain."

Unlike more rural campgrounds, Willow River State Park is less than an hour from Minneapolis. There is good cell service, and employees say the tornado sirens in Hudson can be heard at the campsites. 

Parks officials advised campers that are caught in severe weather to seek a nearby building, such as a restroom. If there isn’t a building nearby, they advise laying down in the lowest spot possible-ideally a ditch or gully.