Thousands of We Energies customers in southeast Wisconsin lose power after overnight storms

Posted at 5:59 AM, Apr 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-20 21:55:04-04

The overnight storms had quite the impact in Racine County as thousands were left without power until about noon Thursday.

However, the cleanup efforts were in full swing.

Kevin Jones’s barn in Racine was destroyed during the overnight storm. His yard looks more like a movie set Thursday. Debris scattered all across his yard; hub caps, small boats and remnants of the barn.

"I looked out and seen what was left," Jones said. "Where I usually see the barn, I seen a great big hole and I'm like, oh no."

When asked how long it would take to clean it all up, Jones just laughed and said, "That's the $99,000 question right there."

Jones has lived in the home since he was four years old so he spent plenty of time in that barn.

"Way too many memories," Jones said. "A lot of good. Some bad but mostly all good."

Unfortunately, Jones did not have insurance to cover the barn but he's just grateful to be alive.

"They were looking at me going, why are you laughing?" Jones said. "Hey, we're alive. Everything is in one piece so far. Cars are fine. House is fine. All my critters are fine."

One thing Jones is still struggling with is power. His home is without it, much like others in the county.

"We have a lot of down poles and down wires in Racine County," Amy Jahns with We Energies said. "We have a lot of roads closed while we're making these repairs."

We Energies had crews working feverishly throughout the day to help restore power. By noon, 24,000 customers had their power restored but in Racine County, several power poles were down including 12 on Highway H.

At 9 p.m., about 880 customers were still without power.

"For jobs like this, it can take all day to get everything back up and running," Jahns said. "They can withstand a lot, so it takes a lot to blow these over but it does happen. We come out as soon as we can to repair them."

While March is typically the month that's in like a lion and out like a lamb, April is already proving to have more roar.

"We knew a storm was coming," said Steve Williams. "We didn't expect it to be quite this ferocious.

Williams lives on Highway H and had power lines fall across his driveway, essentially trapping he and his wife from leaving their home. However, they didn't have any severe damage to worry about.

"We'll be alright," Williams said. "We're cleaning up. What can we do? The crews are working as fast as they can. I had to change some schedules but other than that, it's  nice to be off the grid."

We Energies expects all of their customers to have their power restored by the end of the day or tomorrow. 

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