Weather Authority Alert

UPDATE: Wind Storm Creating Problems In Southern Wisconsin

By: Tim Elliott Email
By: Tim Elliott Email

Click HERE To Submit Your Pictures And Videos Of Severe Weather And Wind Damage

NOTE: Check the top of this story for the latest updates on this wind storm.

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UPDATED Wednesday, October 27, 2010 --- 5:00 p.m.

Wind is creating major problems at Westgate Mall in Madison.

The roof has started to peel off.

There is debris scattered all over the ground.

The School of Madison Ballet at Westgate says all classes are canceled tonight due to the damage.

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UPDATED Friday, October 29, 2010 --- 6:45 a.m.

LADYSMITH, Wis. (AP) -- Xcel Energy has lifted a watch for a western Wisconsin dam where a small sinkhole developed in an earthen embankment.

Xcel spokeswoman Liz Wolf Green says the watch on the Big Falls hydroelectric dam near Ladysmith was lifted at 5:15 p.m. Thursday. She says the sinkhole has stabilized.

The utility had immplemented a watch condition for potential failure of the dam Tuesday as rain fell in western Wisconsin.

As a precaution, Xcel began lowering the reservoir to relieve pressure. By Thursday evening the reservoir was down 9 feet; Xcel plans to eventually bring the water level down 12 feet.

There were no evacuations.

The dam is located on the Flambeau River about seven miles north and east of Ladysmith.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Thursday, October 28, 2010 --- 2:10 p.m.

SUBJECT: Situation Report #6 on Severe Weather
From the WI Dept of Military Affairs

Several communities across Wisconsin are cleaning up, removing debris and conducting damage assessments following two days of wind gusts in the 50-60 mph range. Most of the damage has been minor structural damage or downed trees and power lines.

There are still scattered power outages. The Public Service Commission reports as of 9:30 a.m., the five major electrical utilities in the state (WPL, WPSC, WEPCO, NSPW and MGE) collectively report about 45,000 customers out of service, with most occurring in northeastern Wisconsin. Utilities expect to make significant progress today with restoring electrical services due to calmer weather and extra work crews.

Below is an update from the Wisconsin Emergency Management:

Northeast Region: Several communities are operating warming shelters today at fire stations and other local government facilities and schools. Last night, three counties opened overnight shelters but they were eventually closed due to lack of need. Officials are not planning on opening shelters this evening. There have been no reports of school closures today.

Northwest Region: Scattered power outages throughout the region continue. Bayfield County reports the town hall in Clover suffered water damage due to winds blowing rain into the building. In addition, high waves caused damage to the Washburn Marina wall.

Big Falls Dam (Rusk County): Water drawdown continues behind the dam to help reduce pressure. The Big Falls Dam is on the Flambeau River near Ladysmith. Earlier this week, a sinkhole developed on the east side of the earthen dam. Xcel Energy reports the situation is stable and they continue to work on the dam. Last night, Rusk County Emergency Management contacted residents downstream to provide an update on the situation. There is no request for assistance.

Wisconsin Emergency Management will continue to monitor the weather and power outages. We will provide updates as the situation changes. There has been no request for state assistance.

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UPDATED Thursday, October 28, 2010 --- 7:00 a.m.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Utility crews, working in challenging conditions, have made significant progress in restoring power to tens of thousands of customers in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Public Service of Green Bay has reduced more than 60,000 without power Wednesday to about 32,000 Thursday morning.

WJFW-TV in Rhinelander says the Red Cross, county emergency managers, fire departments and churches set up shelters across northern Wisconsin to accommodate those without heat.

WPS says some of the hardest hit areas are Minocqua, Rhinelander and Wabeno in Wisconsin.

Information from:
WJFW-TV
http://www.wjfw.com

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Wednesday, October 27, 2010 --- 3:30 p.m.

SUBJECT: Situation Report #5 on Severe Weather
From the WI Dept of Military Affairs

Strong winds continue to cause downed power lines and trees across Wisconsin. The National Weather Service reports that many locations are experiencing gusts in the 50-60 mph range. The wind warnings and advisories will continue through the rest of the day and until late this evening when the winds should begin to decrease. There is also a chance for scattered showers but they are not expected to be severe. In addition, some parts of northwestern Wisconsin saw minor snow accumulations this afternoon.

Some of this afternoon's wind gusts include:
- Union (Grant County) - 63 mph
- Necedah (Juneau County) - 62 mph
- Milwaukee (Gen. Mitchell Airport) - 61 mph
- Monroe - 61 mph
- Sheboygan - 60 mph
- Oshkosh - 58 mph
- Platteville - 58 mph

The Public Service Commission reports as of 2 p.m., the five major electrical utilities in the state (WPL, WPSC, WEPCO, NSPW and MGE) collectively report about 82,000 customers out of service, with most occurring in northeastern Wisconsin. Wisconsin Public Service is advising customers in northeast Wisconsin to be prepared for outages until the weekend.

Below is an afternoon update from the Wisconsin Emergency Management regions:

West Central: St. Croix County reports a tree on a home and a few sheds and outbuildings damaged from the strong winds.

Northeast Region: Widespread outages are reported in the region. There are no shelters open but county emergency management offices have contacted the Red Cross and other volunteer groups in case shelters are needed over the next 24-48 hours. Public health and human service agencies have also been in contact with special needs clients that may be in the areas where there are outages. Decisions on any school delays or closures for tomorrow will be made early on Thursday. Most structural damage is trees on buildings or cabins.

Northwest Region: Nothing new to report.

East Central Region: Brown County Emergency Operations Center is partially activated today to continue monitoring the wind. Officials are concerned about the Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge in Green Bay and are advising motorists to avoid the bridge if possible. Wind gusts of over 40 mph have made travel on the bridge difficult. Officials are prepared to shut down the bridge if the situation continues to worsen.

Southeast Region: Wind gusts destroyed part of a roof of a hangar and damaged another hangar door at the Waukesha County Airport/Crites Field. No injuries reported.

Southwest Region: Part of a roof on an apartment complex was blown off in Muscoda in Grant County. No reports of injuries.

Wisconsin Emergency Management will continue to monitor the weather and will provide updates as the situation changes. There has been no request for state assistance.

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UPDATED Wednesday, October 27, 2010 --- 11:27 a.m.

Note from the DOT:

The Merrimac Ferry is closed due to high winds. It is scheduled to reopen Oct 29th at 2 pm.

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UPDATED Wednesday, October 26, 2010 --- 7:55 a.m.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- As many as 60,000 customers in northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula are without electricity as high winds continue to ravage power lines. The outages caused some school districts to cancel classes in Wisconsin, including Rhinelander, Lac du Flambeau and Mercer.

Wisconsin Public Service, based in Green Bay, says some of the hardest hit areas are Minocqua, Rhinelander and Wabeno in Wisconsin. About 5,500 are without power in the U.P.

Company spokeswoman Lisa Prunty says all WPS crews are working to restore power and the utility crews have been called in from Iowa and Minnesota.

Prunty says making repairs has been challenging for line people because of the strong winds, falling tree limbs and lines.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 --- 9:25 p.m.
By NBC15's Chris Woodard

The job of a trucker suddenly becomes quite dangerous on a night like tonight.

As the damages pile up across our area perhaps no one knows the risks better than those behind the wheel.

With wind gusts reaching nearly 60 miles-per-hour semi drivers face some tough decisions.

Jim Kammes says, "So far it's been rocky, grip the steering wheel and the seat pretty hard."

And if the wind is strong enough to send a tree crashing down onto a Regent Street home today you can imagine how bad it is on the open road.

Truck driver John Gray says, "When it's windy like this it's the last place you want to be."

After a full day of white knuckling and fighting the winds some call it quits and pull into a truck stop in De Forest.

Gray says, "I'm going to wait until after dark. Hopefully it will slow down tonight."

Earlier today a semi rolled over on Highway 151 near Sun Prairie, a worst case scenario for all truck drivers.

But many will brave the winds anyway, determined to deliver their loads on time.

Dale Rodgers says, "I pulled in here to take a shower and stuff, hoped it would die down some, but I have to get to Minneapolis in the morning so I'll get out there and keep on going."

Gray's day started in Racine County

He says, "I woke up the truck was shaking real bad."

He was trying to get some rest at a truck stop only 5 miles from Sturtevant where a tornado touched down around eight o'clock this morning.

He says, "It would have just tipped us right over if it could have."

For those truckers still upright some are calling it quits and some are soldiering on but all are very aware of what's going on around them.

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UPDATED Tuesday, October 26, 2010 --- 3:25 p.m.

From the Madison Fire Department:
Fallen Limb Cuts Wires, Damages Roof

City of Madison firefighters were called to a west side home this afternoon at 1:37 when a large tree limb crashed onto a nearby roof at 4913 Regent St.

The branch cut the power source to the house and arcing wires caused minor fire damage. Firefighters examined the attic to ensure that there was no extension into the attic. No one was in the home when the tree limb fell.

A neighbor notified the homeowner, who was at work. The branch, which was more than a foot in diameter where it connected to the tree trunk was still resting on the roof when firefighters arrived. Crews secured the scene until MGE could respond.

This was one of several calls today for downed tree limbs and wires caused by high winds.

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SUBJECT: Situation Report #2 on Severe Weather
From the WI Dept of Military Affairs

Wisconsin Emergency Management continues to monitor the severe weather and strong winds that are moving across the state. Many locations are reporting strong winds, downed trees and power lines.

This morning, an EF-1 tornado hit the Sturtevant area in Racine County. The Case Corporation which manufactures agricultural and construction equipment, had a 100 foot by 200 foot section of roof blown off. Two employees suffered minor injuries. The company sent their employees home for the rest of the day. A few other homes and businesses reported some wind damage.

Gilmore Middle School also in Racine County was closed early due to power outages.

In Rock County, students at Parker High School in Janesville are being dismissed because of apparent damage to the roof.

The National Weather Service reports that most of the tornado or thunderstorm activity has left the state. However, the High Wind Warnings continue for most of the state throughout today and tomorrow. Some of the stronger gusts include: Milwaukee Lakeshore at 59 mph, Chilton 57 mph and Algoma 51 mph.

There has been no request for state assistance.

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UPDATED Tuesday, October 26, 2010 --- 1:00 p.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Tuesday's wild and windy weather has left some 15,000 utility customers without power in southeastern Wisconsin.

We Energies spokesman Brian Manthey says crews are working to keep up with outages, but as some power is restored, service is cut elsewhere by the high wind and downed power lines.

Elsewhere, the Janesville School District sent students at Parker High School home at noon Tuesday because the storm lifted a roof section. After school activities were canceled.

In Oneida County, students in the Three Lakes School District were released at lunch because power was out.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Tuesday, October 26, 2010 --- 11:25 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The National Weather Service has confirmed the storm that caused two minor injuries, uprooted trees and damaged buildings in southern Wisconsin was, in fact, a tornado.

Weather Service forecaster Mark Gehring told reporters in Racine County Tuesday that the tornado is rated as an F1, the weakest possible twister with winds in the 86 to 105 mph range.

Two workers at the Case tractor plant in Mount Pleasant suffered minor injuries when the storm ripped off a 200-by-100-foot section of roof.

WGTD says production at the plant has been shut down for now.

Information from
WGTD-FM
http://www.wgtd.org

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Tuesday, October 26, 2010 --- 11:20 a.m.

MOUNT PLEASANT, Wis. (AP) -- A tractor manufacturer in southern Wisconsin says two employees were hurt when tornado-like winds ripped away a section of the roof at the company's plant in Racine County.

Case IH spokesman Duane Nelson says an engineer and a parts employee were taken to a local hospital after suffering minor injuries when a storm damaged the Mount Pleasant plant Tuesday morning.

Sheryl Uthemann was working first shift when she heard a loud roar. Uthemann says co-workers then shouted to run for cover. She says she looked up and "saw pieces of the roof sucked up."

Jeremy Thornton says it sounded like a freight train coming through the building, then a huge gust of wind knocked him back a couple feet.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Tuesday, October 26, 2010 --- 9:25 a.m.

SUBJECT: Situation Report #1 on Severe Weather
From the WI Dept of Military Affairs

Racine County Emergency Management has reported a tornado or downburst has hit the Sturtevant area. The Case Corporation lost part of their roof, several homes are reporting damage and numerous power lines are down. Part of Highway 11 is closed due to debris.

WEM Regional Director has been in contact with Racine County. In addition, WEM Emergency Fire Services Coordinator has been notified due to a request for fire mutual aid.

There has been no other request for state assistance.

High wind warnings remain in effect for most of the state.

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UPDATED Tuesday, October 26, 2010 --- 9:00 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A powerful windstorm moved through southern Wisconsin Tuesday, tearing off a roof section at a Racine area manufacturer and trapping some motorists with downed power lines.

Racine Co. Sheriff's Lt. Dan Klatt says at least one citizen reported seeing a funnel cloud in the Racine area.

Klatt says a 100 foot by 200 foot section of roof was torn off the Case plant in Racine County where trees were uprooted on the property. He says no employees were injured.

Sheriff's officials say some motorists were trapped in their vehicle by downed power lines on Highway KR in Mount Pleasant. We Energies was on the scene.

Forecasters say winds with sustained speeds of 40 mph are expected with gusts of up to 60 mph.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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UPDATED Tuesday, October 26, 2010 --- 8:40 a.m.

Traffic Alert Update: Sun Prairie PD says all lanes of US 151 have reopened after this morning's earlier accident (an overturned semi). Meanwhile, Highway 18 is still temporarily blocked in both directions in Dodgeville because of a downed power line. Click on the PHOTOS tab above to see a photo from this scene.

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UPDATED Tuesday, October 26, 2010 --- 8:00 a.m.

There have already been several flight cancellations in and out of Dane County Regional Airport (because of the wild winds across the Midwest). Travelers are urged to call their airlines before they head to the airport today.

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UPDATED Tuesday, October 26, 2010 --- 7:45 a.m.

More on the Traffic Alert in Dodgeville:
Incident Type: Utility Emergency
County: IOWA
Nearest City: DODGEVILLE
On Highway: US 18 EB/WB
At Location: STH 23 EB
Lanes Affected: All Lanes Blocked (Both Directions)
Date and Time Incident Occurred: 10/26/2010 7:01 AM
** Estimated Duration: Over 2 Hours
Alternate Route: The fire department is controlling traffic on-scene
** Additional Info: Power line down in roadway. Roadway is blocked from WIS 23 to County Q. It is estimated to clear around noon.

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UPDATED Tuesday, October 26, 2010 --- 7:25 a.m.

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- A tornado watch was issued for southern Wisconsin early Tuesday as a powerful windstorm began to move into the state.

Forecasters say winds with sustained speeds of 40 mph are expected with gusts of up to 60 mph. Highway 18 was temporarily blocked in both directions early Tuesday in Dodgeville because of a downed power line. Heavy rain and winds slowed commuter traffic in Milwaukee.

Some restaurants in southeastern Wisconsin moved sidewalk furniture indoors and homeowners scrambled to batten down anything that might be swept away by the storm.

We Energies made plans to deal with service outages caused by broken tree limbs and downed power lines and notified field workers they might have to come in early.

Forecasters predict the storm could be one of the most powerful and widespread in more than a decade.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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Posted Monday, October 25, 2010 --- 10:00 p.m.
By NBC15's Tim Elliott

Wisconsin Emergency Management officials are preparing for Tuesday's wild weather. Many are saying this storm is eerily similar to another storm that devastated the area more than 10 years ago.

Forecasters are calling for some wicked wind over the next couple days.

“The wind gradually increases overnight and then tomorrow (Tuesday) we're going to have this giant storm that is going to intensify and continue to develop through Tuesday and Wednesday,” said NBC 15 Chief Meteorologist David George.

Officials expect the storm to pack quite the punch.

“We're talking wind gusts up to 60 mph, which are very strong winds,which can cause a lot of damage and again lots of trees could come down lots of heavy branches,” said Lori Getter with the Wisconsin Emergency Management.

Many officials are comparing Tuesday's anticipated storm to a storm that hit south central Wisconsin back on November 10, 1998. During that storm, thousands of trees and power lines were knocked down, millions of dollars in property damage was done, and four people were killed.

“In '98 we had fatalities, we had injuries, we had lost power for days and this could be very similar to that unfortunately,” said George.

It's estimated that storm caused more than $10 million in damage.

“I think the first thing people noticed was what was going on on bodies of water. I mean it was like 'oh my gosh, look at the waves!” added George.

“Right now, things are looking that it's going to be that strong or potentially even stronger but again, things could change overnight,” said Getter.

Storms like this are rare, but being prepared for the worst case scenario is crucial.

“I mean for a storm to get like this is every 10 or 15 years,” said George.

“People need to pay attention to the situation. You may think that wind is not a big deal but wind does cause a lot of damage and people need to be ready for it,” added Getter.

Officials are advising people to bring patio furniture and Halloween decorations indoors before the wind picks up tomorrow morning.


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