School canceled in Whitewater Thursday, plenty to clean up after storms: “Going to be hard”

WHITEWATER -- Due to the strong to severe storms that pushed through SE Wisconsin Wednesday, May 17th, there was no school for students in the Whitewater Unified School District Thursday, due to a loss of power and other damage. Many in Walworth County had damage to clean up after these storms, which hit the county particularly hard.

School was canceled in Whitewater, but after-school activities went on as scheduled.

Officials with the City of Whitewater late on Wednesday night shared photos showing some of the damage in the area:

Meanwhile, at the Hillside Cemetery in Whitewater, crews were busy Thursday removing downed trees, and even up-righting headstones!

Cindy Robers estimated the damage will cost tens of thousands of dollars.

"We have 11 days before Memorial Day, so hopefully we can get the majority of our stuff cleaned up, but we still have to go on mowing and making sure everything else is taken care of besides this. It's going to be hard, but we'll get there. We'll probably be working seven days a week for awhile," Robers said.

Cemetery staff said their phones were ringing non-stop Thursday -- with people calling, worried about the graves of their loved ones. Unfortunately, some were knocked over, and others were damaged, but crews are working hard to get everything back to normal.

PHOTO GALLERY

Across town, a family tried to make sense of an area that used to be their backyard.

"All of a sudden, it was really raining hard, and I went to the end of the family room to shut the TV off and go to the basement, and the big tree landed into the house," Elaine, a Whitewater resident said.

The estimated 70 miles-per-hour winds took their toll. An outhouse was broken by a tree, and a shed was knocked over by the wind.

Martin Rodriguez said he hid in a garage.

"My heart started pumping fast. I was scared, but I didn't know what to do," Rodriguez said.

When they emerged, they found their neighbor's tree on top of a vehicle.

"We went over and apologized again because they're nice people. Really great neighbors," Elaine said.

Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.