Strong thunderstorms caused widespread damage across Wisconsin, left tens of thousands without power and triggered tornado warnings overnight.
The severe weather stretched from the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan and began Wednesday evening in northwestern Wisconsin. By 2 a.m. Thursday, the numerous tornado warnings around the state had expired.
The National Weather Service was expected to survey hard-hit areas Thursday to determine if tornadoes or high winds brought down power lines, trees and caused structural damage. Electricity was knocked out to about 90,000 customers across the state, according to the tracking website PowerOutage US.
TMJ4 News is following the latest developments and is compiling them here.
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9:44 p.m. -- We Energies restores power to 45,000 customers
We Energies says its crews have restored power to more than 45,000 customers since severe thunderstorms crossed Wisconsin overnight.
"Our crews have encountered significant damage, including broken utility poles, downed power lines and trees that have fallen onto our electric equipment. We have brought in additional crews to assist with our restoration efforts.We will continue to work around the clock to safely restore power to every last customer. We know it is frustrating to be without power and we thank our customers for their patience," according to a spokesperson.
5:26 p.m. - Storm damage leads to fatal crash in Fond du Lac County
Around 6:00 a.m. Thursday, the Wisconsin State Patrol responded to a single vehicle crash on County Trunk Highway N near Schattsneider Drive in Fond du Lac County, the department said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
A preliminary investigation shows that a tree and a powerline fell into the roadway and was struck by a 2008 Toyota Scion. The driver sustaining fatal injuries, the State Patrol says. The Wisconsin State Patrol Technical Reconstruction Unit is investigating.
5:23 - Tornado sirens failed to activate in Fond du Lac County
When severe storms rolled through Fond du Lac County overnight, outdoor warning sirens failed to activate after the National Weather Service issued tornado warnings in that area, officials say.
Fond du Lac County Director of Administration, Erin E. Gerred, said Thursday county emergency management officials are aware of the failure of the sirens to activate and are "actively working with the vendor to resolve the issue."
"The safety of all Fond du Lac County residents is vitally important especially during severe weather," said Gerred.
2:40 p.m. -- Third tornado confirmed by NWS preliminary survey
The National Weather Service has confirmed a third tornado early Thursday, just southwest of Watertown.
The NWS preliminary storm survey found damage along Hilltop Road just north of Highway A. The EF0 tornado happened just after 1 a.m.
**Additional tornado confirmed near Watertown, WI**— NWS Milwaukee (@NWSMilwaukee) July 29, 2021
NWS storm survey found preliminary EF0 rated damage just SW of Watertown. Damage is along Hilltop Rd just north of Highway A. Tornado occurred at approximately 1:05 AM CDT on July 29, 2021. Path length and other details TBD.
12:58 p.m. -- Second tornado confirmed by NWS preliminary survey
A second tornado has been confirmed by the National Weather Service's preliminary survey. This second tornado was reported in Waukesha near the intersection of Highway D and Townline Road, ESE of Wales and WSE of Waukesha.
The tornado has been rated as an EF0.
**Second tornado confirmed**— NWS Milwaukee (@NWSMilwaukee) July 29, 2021
A storm survey has confirmed a tornado with a preliminary damaging rating of EF0 in Waukesha County. Damage is centered around the intersection of Hwy D and Townline Rd., ESE of Wales and WSE of Waukesha. Additional details TBD.
12:30 p.m. -- National Weather Service preliminary survey results confirm tornado touchdown in Jefferson County
The National Weather Service says preliminary survey results has confirmed a tornado touchdown in Concord, Wisconsin just after 1 a.m. Thursday.
The tornado was rated EF1 and the path length and other details were still to be determined
**Prelim Survey Results**— NWS Milwaukee (@NWSMilwaukee) July 29, 2021
Damage near Concord, WI (Jefferson County) has been confirmed to be a tornado, with a preliminary damage rating of EF1. The tornado occurred at approximately 1:15 AM CDT on July 29, 2021. Path length and other details still TBD.
11:14 a.m. -- Additional info on storm survey crews
In addition to the crews surveying for storm damage in Jefferson and Waukesha Counties, the National Weather Service's Green Bay office says two additional crews will be headed to Marathon/Portage County as well as southwest Winnebago County.
We have two storm damage survey crews heading out to assess the damage from last night's storms. Their focus will be in Marathon/Portage County & SW Winnebago County. More information to come! Stay tuned! #wiwx— NWS Green Bay (@NWSGreenBay) July 29, 2021
10:30 a.m. -- Gov. Evers declares state of emergency
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency due to severe weather.
Evers signed the order in order to direct state agencies to help those affected by the storm.
“Last night's storms affected communities from the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan, leaving many regions with widespread damage,” said Evers. “Wisconsinites are resilient, and I know first responders, utilities, and many across our state are working to respond today. I'm declaring a State of Emergency this morning to ensure state resources are available as we work together to get communities the support and help they need.”
10:20 a.m. — NWS crews arrive in Jefferson County
Crews with the National Weather Service have arrived to assess storm damage in Jefferson County.
9:37 a.m. — Survey crews to survey damage in Jefferson and Waukesha counties
The National Weather Service will be sending crews to examine storm damage from last night's storms in Jefferson and western Waukesha counties.
Two survey crews will be heading out shortly to examine damage from last night's thunderstorms. They will initially be focused on Jefferson and western Waukesha Counties. Results will likely not be available until this afternoon, but will be posted as soon as we have them.— NWS Milwaukee (@NWSMilwaukee) July 29, 2021
8:51 a.m. — No injuries reported in Concord
Clean up is going well in Concord. Ryan Jenkins reports there are no more blocked roads, and no injuries have been reported so far.
More storm damage in Concord, WI. Township official says “we’re gonna be busy.” He says he doesn’t believe there are any more blocked roads in the area and hasn’t heard any reports of injuries. pic.twitter.com/grRMf2JClW— Ryan Jenkins (@RyanJenkins_TV) July 29, 2021
8:20 a.m. -- National Weather Service to send surveyors to Concord, Wales areas
The National Weather Service said surveyors were going to areas near Concord and Wales to assess storm damage.
7:30 a.m. -- City of Ripon officials provide update on storm damage
The City of Ripon discussed storm damage from severe weather early Thursday.
5:23 a.m. -- Storm damage is now visible in the daylight.
Storm damage is now being seen across SE Wisconsin. Here's a look at a barn in Concord, WI.
Seeing first signs of buildings damaged in this area following overnight storms. @MarisaWoloszyn tells me there were radar indicated wind gusts 60-70 mph here near Concord overnight. That’s near hurricane force. pic.twitter.com/GdyhONwIap— Ryan Jenkins (@RyanJenkins_TV) July 29, 2021
And some damage in Oconomowoc:
2:50 a.m. -- All watches and warnings have expired.
While all watches and warnings have expired for SE Wisconsin, showers will linger. Use caution when going out and keep an eye out for downed trees and other storm damage.
2:50 am - All watches and warnings have been allowed to expire for SE Wisconsin. There are still some lingering rain showers, but they are on the way out. Be very careful tonight and in the morning, trees and power lines are down and there will be areas of damage. #wiwx pic.twitter.com/0lj0bTMz5K— Kristen Kirchhaine (@KristenWeather) July 29, 2021
2:44 a.m. -- Clean up begins in Ripon, Wisconsin
Crews are beginning to assess and clean up damage in Ripon, Wisconsin.
2:24 a.m. -- State senator shares photo of storm damage
State Senator John Jagler, who lives in Watertown, shared a photo of a tree down.
2:09 a.m. -- Widespread power outages
Thousands of people are without power across Wisconsin including in southeastern Wisconsin. WE Energies reports more than 28,000 people are out of power at this time. Click here to see the latest outages from WE Energies.
2:02 a.m. -- Storm damage in Ripon
The City of Ripon is asking all residents stay inside due to the storm damage after the city witnessed numerous downed trees, road closures and downed power lines.
"Power is currently out city-wide. If you are in need of emergency assistance, please call 911. More information will be provided as it becomes available," said City Administrator Adam Sonntag.