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Walker tours storm damage in NE Wisconsin as cleanup continues

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NORTHEAST WISCONSIN (WITI) -- Governor Walker toured damage in New London Thursday, August 8th caused by storms that swept through the region earlier this week. The storms caused widespread damage in Brown, Clark, Chippewa, Jackson, Outagamie, Marinette, Monroe, Waupaca, Winnebago, and Wood counties.

During the visit, Gov. Walker promised that the state would provide assistance to speed up the cleanup effort, and to make sure people's insurance claims are handled quickly.

Storm damage in NE Wisconsin

The following state agencies have been directed to assist local communities:

  • Wisconsin Emergency Management – will work with local communities to review damage, coordinate resources, and apply for any assistance they may be eligible to receive.  Updated information on the storm event can be viewed at: www.emergencymanagement.wi.gov.
  • Department of Administration – will work with communities to make emergency assistance funds available to eligible homeowners for rehabilitation.  Funds for qualifying businesses will also be made available as well as funds to repair public infrastructure, where eligible.  Local communities should work with the Division of Housing to apply.
  • Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection – will connect affected farmers with crop damage and livestock shelter needs for assistance and counseling through its Farm Center and Animal Health Division.  The connection can be made by dialing 800-942-2474.  More information can be found using this link.
  • Office of Commissioner of Insurance – will make available assistance for property owners filing claims.  Homeowners can contact the OCI helpline for assistance with their homeowner insurance coverage.  Individuals can visit www.OCI.wi.gov or call 1-800-236-8517.
  • Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority – will provide access to emergency funding for local assistance organizations giving assistance to affected residents.  For more information, homeowners can contact WHEDA at 800-562-5546.
  • Department of Transportation – will work to make funds available for infrastructure repair.  Staff are inspecting and documenting the impacts and damages to existing infrastructure.
  • Department of Health Services – will continue to be in contact with local organizations and the Hospital Program Manager to provide assistance.

Storm damage in NE Wisconsin

The National Weather Service (NWS) was out assessing damage Wednesday, August 7th and Thursday, August 8th to determine if the storms produced tornadoes.

However, the NWS reports that in the New London – Hortonville – Appleton area, straight line winds of 100 mph and higher occurred.   Officials also say it is possible that there was a tornado.   In the Freedom-Wrightstown area, there were straight line winds of 80 mph. The NWS is still assessing whether a tornado hit that area.

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The Red Cross has opened three shelters at Parkview Elementary in New London, In Appleton at Appleon West High School and Wrightstown High School in Wrightstown.  The most significant damage was reported in the Fox Valley toward New London.

Brown County – Brown County Emergency Management assessed storm damage. Officials are reporting 1 home destroyed, 1 with major damage and over 100 homes impacted by the storm. Damage to residential areas is estimated at $2.1 million. There were also 4 businesses that sustained major damage. Estimated damage amount is $650,000.

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Clark County - Clark County continues cleanup efforts from last night’s storms. New information received this afternoon includes damage to some buildings in the Town of Withee. Numerous trees were down but crews have cleared the roads.

Chippewa County - Two barns and a pole shed were damaged in the storm. The Cornell area was hit with numerous downed trees and power lines.

Jackson County - Downed trees and power lines reported throughout the county. Power outages reported in Taylor and Black River Falls. The power outage at Taylor affected the Taylor radio repeater and they were not able to page out Taylor Fire Department last night. Power has been restored and trees are being removed from the roadways. There were no reports of residential damages.

Storm damage in northwest Wisconsin

Outagamie County –The county has declared a State of Emergency. Earlier in the day, the Town of Grand Chute also declared a State of Emergency.

Marinette County – The Porterfield Town Chairperson and a public works employee were struck by a vehicle while clearing Bagley Road near Highway 64 during the storm. Eugene LaCombe, age 67, died from injuries he sustained during the crash. The other worker sustained injuries but is expected to recover. The matter remains under investigation but officials say heavy rain and wind at the time of the crash along with the glare of headlights were a contributing factor. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in this incident.

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Monroe County - Scattered downed trees reported. There was damage to the county-owned building, Rolling Hills. Damage included broken windows and some roof damage.

Waupaca County – Officials say an elderly couple received non-life threatening injuries during the storm while staying at the Huckleberry Campground in Fremont.

Winnebago County – Town of Wolf River are reporting power outages.

Wood County – Officials say a camper was blown over and reports of some roof damage.

We Energies - Utility officials say it will be Saturday until power is completely restores. Crews expect to make progress overnight. It has been tough to get crews to the area due to debris in roads. Currently, 48,000 customers are without power. The worst damage is in the Appleton and Hortonville area. A substation at Freedom was heavily damaged. More than 50 poles and 500 wires were down as a result of the storm.

WPS - The utility company expects everyone to be back on line tomorrow.   Currently, 7,000 customers are without power. More than 100 poles had to be replaced. Most of the power outages are in rural and farm land areas.

Emergency Operations Center remains at level 4. The WEM Administrator, Senior Duty Officer and Duty Officer are engaged with local officials and will continue to monitor the situation.

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