OUTAGAMIE COUNTY (WITI) -- Damage from severe storms on Tuesday night, August 6th, has left tens of thousands of people in northeast Wisconsin without power, and it could be another day or so before everyone is back on line.
At its peak, around 60,000 We Energies customers in Outagamie County were without power, specifically in areas around Appleton, Grand Chute, and Hortonville.
More than 60 power poles and 500 wires were reported down from the storms. Transmission towers and a substation were also heavily damaged.
“In fact, we have one area where an entire 10-pole span had come down and snapped,” said We Energies spokesperson Brian Manthey.
Manthey said the biggest challenge is simply getting to the hardest hit areas. Dozens of forestry crews have been sent out to clear roads, while hundreds of line mechanics are working around the clock to repair power equipment. Help is coming from as far as southeast Wisconsin, and even out of state.
“Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, and the Iron Range then came into the Fox Valley. We also had crews come in from Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan so we've gotten some help from other areas, too,” said Manthey.
As of Thursday morning, August 8th, the utility was more than half way through the restoration. However due to the amount of damage, Manthey said it could be at least 24 hours before power is fully restored.
“We really think that by Friday evening at 6 o’ clock, we'll have 90 percent of the customers affected back in service. And really, the only badly hit areas are the ones we still have to get to on Saturday,” said Manthey.