CUDAHY, Wis. — Thousands are still without power Tuesday evening as storm damage clean-up is underway amid dangerous heat.
We passed hundreds of downed trees, and damaged cars and homes. Areas south of Milwaukee were hit the hardest, including Cudahy, Oak Creek, and Franklin.
About 45,000 We Energies customers in southeast Wisconsin lost power in Monday's afternoon storm. By 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, 20,000 of them were still without power. We Energies hopes to restore power to everyone by Tuesday night.
Five hundred We Energies workers - some from other parts of Wisconsin – have been putting in 16-hour shifts to get the job done. In high heat and humidity, extra breaks are required.
We Energies spokesman Brendan Conway says in some of the worst hit areas, power circuits need to be rebuilt.
- Still 20,000 We Energies customers affected by power outages in SE Wisconsin
- Power outages continue, neighbors hope for restoration before heat wave arrives
“They are making sure to stay hydrated and get some shade whenever possible,” said Conway. “Some of these downed lines require specialized equipment and specialized crews. In some cases, they need to cut back branches by hand before they can even start the work. Then, electric linemen come to re-string the wire and fix things.”
Conway says We Energies crews start with the outages affecting the most people and work their way down.
“It’s a difficult wait in this heat,” said Chelsea Sieger of Cudahy, who attached a water toy to her backyard hose for her daughter to stay cool. “I had to walk to Walmart and get a plunger. Our basement is backed-up, our toilets backed up. It is not pretty. I was supposed to go to work this morning, but I cannot get my car out of the garage. Both of my cell phones are dead, and I have nowhere to charge them.”
Chad Geurts of Cudahy rushed his four young daughters into the basement when the storm quickly rolled through.
“The sky went dark, the rain poured, and all of the sudden trees started hitting the house,” he said. “It turns out they put a few holes in the roof and smashed some things in our backyard.”
Luckily, Geurts has a generator to keep their refrigerator running, and his father came to patch the holes in the roof until a company can come fix it.
“It is not how we wanted to start the summer, but at least no one was hurt,” he said.