High winds cause power outages, closes schools

Damage reported all over the state
Posted at 10:16 PM, Mar 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-09 08:21:44-05

The severe wind caused headaches for much of Southeast Wisconsin Wednesday, including power outages, overturned semi trucks and blown out traffic lights.

Thousands of homeowners lost electricity because of the wind. We Energies crews were out late trying to restore power to everyone. As of 7 a.m. Thursday, more than 4,000 customers were still without power. (Check updates here)

Street signs were shaking, construction tarps thrashing, and traffic lights knocked right out. Trees toppled on to homes, and blocked streets.

"Clients are calling from all over the place saying trees are either falling over on fences, cars, even houses," said repairman Julio Rodriguez. "So, we're out here trying to remove all the branches and damage."

Rodriguez and his crew saw a big boost in business from the windy weather. They responded to a home in Kenosha that lost 10 huge pine trees. Not to mention, shingles, siding, and a big chunk of fence.

"It's unbelievable," Rodriguez said.

Not far away in Racine, it looked like a tornado hit an auto repair shop.

"I was working on a car when I came in the office, and I heard this sound like a steam locomotive, and I was like where'd that come from?" said Mike Nelson. "So, we walked out of the back door, and sure enough the whole secondary roof came right off."

In Franklin, firefighters responded to a house fire, made much worse by the wind.

"Caused by something as simple as dropping a cigarette," said the lead firefighter at the home. "If there's any flammable material near it, and this wind whipping it, it causes the fire to spread and travel very quickly.

Amid the chaos, we found people welcoming the whipping wind, on the golf course of all places.

"Have to test my skills in this strong wind," said Jordan Gordon. "Thanks to this wind, my drive went 35 yards farther!"

The wind even affecting school. Case High School and Mitchell Middle School, along with Whitefish Bay High School, let kids out early because they lost power.

Be sure and try our new SNOWCAST APP! It is the "snow equivalent to STORM SHIELD" - a great new product that gives you high resolution snow forecasts for any part of the nation! It has just been introduced for iPhones, but we are working on the Android version! Just search SNOWCAST in the App Store or click here.