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Power outages and storm damage rock Milwaukee's Rufus King neighborhood

Storm Damage in Rufus King Neighborhood
Posted at 10:40 AM, Aug 11, 2021

MILWAUKEE — Tuesday night's storms left more than 100,000 We Energies customers in the dark overnight into Wednesday morning.

As residents in Milwaukee's Rufus King Neighborhood woke up Wednesday morning, they found the mess that the storm left behind.

"It's a complete nightmare," said James Lebourgeois who was worried about his elderly neighbors, some of who have incubators that rely on electricity to run.

From 21st and Congress to 9th and Keefe, neighbors used flashlights to assess the damage.

"I was scared. I was scared. Luckily wasn't nobody in the way," said Charlene Lewis, who woke up early with her great-niece to check on a tree that was uprooted overnight.

Uprooted trees blocked streets and the power outages were widespread across the area. Tens-of-thousands of customers were in the dark and without power for most of the morning on Wednesday as hundreds of crews worked to get electricity restored.

Near 22nd and Olive, one resident said, "I wonder what kind of wind could do something like this? You know," as she looked out at a street littered with tree limbs and branches. Some of the trees landing on cars, others on homes. "This is a nightmare. This is just a nightmare. I guess everybody will be cleaning up their yard."

Many neighbors in the area agreed that the storm came quickly but left behind havoc.

"It came so quick and then it was gone. It wasn't much thunder, lightning, just a little bit. Normal to see here in Wisconsin. But to see all this now - this is really like I said devastating," said Bob Campbell, who woke up without power.

For these residents, the power outage is much more than an inconvenience.

"I'm currently working from home but right now with the power out I can't log on," said Amanda McCloud as she brushed debris off of her front doorstep.

As heat set in Wednesday, the new concern was staying cool.

"My mother-in-law is in the house. She's 90-years-old, we got to get her out this house before it gets hot," said Keith Watson, who woke up without power. "We don't want her up in this hot house like that. It's hard on her."

Here are power outage tips from We Energies.
Report your outage online or by phone:Report outage and get updates at 800-662-4797

  • Stay at least 25 feet away from downed power lines or flooded areas
  • Stay out of flooded basements or rooms
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible
  • Use manual operation of garage door
  • Go to safe shelter if your home is extremely cold or hot
  • Use flashlights, not candles
  • Use generators properly
  • Unplug or turn off appliances to avoid overloading when power is restored
  • Leave a single light on to alert you when power is restored
  • If your home is only one in neighborhood without power, check breakers/fuses
  • Use food safety tips for frozen and refrigerated items

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