Live blog: Storms cut power for more than 225K customers, We Energies says

Posted at 9:03 AM, Aug 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 22:33:38-04

Residents across southeast Wisconsin are beginning the cleanup process after severe storms rolled through the area. Storms moved through again Wednesday evening, but so far have been far less destructive than the previous night.


Here are live updates as cities clean up:

9:30 p.m. -- Peak of more than 225,000 customers without power: We Energies

We Energies now estimates more than 225,000 customers had power cut off due to severe storms Tuesday night.

The company said in a statement Wednesday that they have since restored power to more than 140,000 customers.

"As outages reports have come in throughout the day we’re finding that the damage to our network is even more extensive than we originally estimated. We now believe that more than 225,000 customers lost power at some point due to the high winds, lighting and toppled trees. Parts of our system will need to be completely rebuilt before power can be turned back on," according to We Energies.

"Our crews will continue to work through the night to safely restore power. They will be joined by additional crews arriving from out of state. We sincerely appreciate the continue patience and support of our customers," per their statement.

The company said they will have another update before 9:00 a.m. Thursday.

7 p.m. -- Whitefish Bay to host village-wide clean up Thursday morning

The Village of Whitefish Bay will be hosting a cleanup Thursday morning. It's expected to begin at 7 a.m.

6:18 p.m. -- Red Cross opens center for those affected by heat, power outages

The American Red Cross of Wisconsin has opened a Milwaukee reception center for those affected by heat and power outages.

The center is located at Southside Church of Christ located at 1933 W. Grange Ave. The center will open until at least 10 p.m.

6 p.m. -- Officials provide an update on Milwaukee storms

During a press briefing Wednesday evening, We Energies President Tom Metcalfe and Milwaukee Fire Chief Aaron Lipski gave some updates on the situation.

Metcalfe said he expects 30,000 more customers will regain power by midnight Wednesday. They have been dealing with gas outages as well.

50 additional line mechanics will be working Wednesday night, with the current 500 mechanics working on the front lines now.

Residents should not worry about a power surge, Metcalfe said, as they have equipment that protects infrastructure from lightning strikes. People may need to reset their clocks.

Chief Lipski said if you see downed wires, that you should not go near them or touch them. Visually follow the lines and don't contact that item. The chief says people should feel free to up phone and call 911 if you believe it might be a hazard.

Metcalfe added northern and western areas of their market were the hardest hit, particularly Menomonee Falls and Delafield. Damage goes all the way down to Kenosha and Racine.

4:41 p.m. -- Thousands remain without power

We Energies says their crews have restored power to more than 107,000 customers since Tuesday night’s severe storms. More than 104,000 customers are still without power in Wisconsin, according to their outage map.

4:37 p.m. -- New Berlin's temporary charging & cooling station

New Berlin's Community Center will be open again Thursday, Aug. 12 for the public to use as a Charging and Cooling Station. The Community Center located at 14750 W Cleveland Ave, New Berlin, WI 53151 will be open from 10:00AM – 4:00PM.

3:35 p.m. -- Tornado spotted near Green Bay

Tornado spotting in Pulaski northwest of Green Bay this afternoon. Watch:

2:44 p.m. -- Neighbors helping neighbors

Pete’s Pops in Milwaukee and in West Allis is giving people dry ice to keep their fridges/freezers cold to preserve their food.

1:30 p.m. -- City of Milwaukee leaders provide an update on storms

1:07 p.m. -- More than 100,000 remain without power in Wisconsin

As of 1 p.m., more than 100,000 customers remain without power, according to We Energies.

"We are fully mobilized in the largest restoration in the company's history," said We Energies president Tom Metcalfe.

We Energies says Wednesday storms caused largest power restoration in history

1 p.m. -- City of Milwaukee to provide an update on storm damage

City leaders in Milwaukee will be providing an update on storm damage at 1:30 p.m.

Watch it on TMJ4 News on-air, online, or wherever you stream.

12:20 p.m. -- Tornado Watch issued for SE Wisconsin counties

A Tornado Watch has been issued from 12:17 PM to 8:00 PM for Fond du Lac County, WI, Dodge County, WI, Jefferson County, WI.


11:30 a.m. -- USDA food safety reminders

With severe storms knocking out power for thousands of people, it's important to know how long the food in your refrigerator and freezer can go without power.

The USDA says food kept in the refrigerator for four hours or less during a power outage is safe to eat if the door is kept closed as much as possible.


You should throw away refrigerated perishable food like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers after you've been without power for more than 4 hours.

11:15 a.m. -- Village of Whitefish Bay opens cooling center

10:50 a.m. -- City of Whitewater requests residents stack debris

The City of Whitewater Public Works Department is requesting residents stack branches and tree limbs on their terraces.

The city said staff will begin clearing debris next week.

"There is no need to call and request this service for the next week only," said the city.

For additional questions or concerns, contact the Streets Department at (262) 473-0560.

10:44 a.m. -- Power outages and storm damage rock Milwaukee's Rufus King neighborhood

Residents work to clean up storm damage, prepare for more

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.

10:30 a.m. -- We Energies provides updates on power outages

10:22 a.m. -- City of New Berlin opens up temporary cooling centers

The City of New Berlin is opening up temporary cooling centers for residents without power.

The Community Center at 14750 W. Cleveland Avenue will be open 10:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Residents who have lost power will be able to stay cool due to the heat and charge their devices.

10:17 a.m. -- MATC closes West Allis campus

10:15 a.m. -- Kenosha City Hall closed due to power outage

Due to ongoing power outages, the Kenosha City Hall is closed, the police department said.

10:13 a.m. -- Wauwatosa police report phone lines are down

Wauwatosa police say their phone lines are down.

Dial 911 in an emergency. The lobby is open for walk-in services.

10 a.m. -- Gateway Tech College - Kenosha campus temporarily closes due to power outage

Gateway's Kenosha campus will be closed until 1 p.m. on Wednesday due to a power outage.

9:50 a.m. -- Friendship Circle in Fox Point offers breakfast, AC, and coffee for those affected by power outage

9:40 a.m. -- Kenosha police provide an update on the cleanup effort

The Kenosha Police Department said officers responded to 96 road hazard calls, 94 service calls, and several traffic accidents.

"The Kenosha Police Department will continue to work with the City of Kenosha Public Works Department to clear the roadways and help facilitate safe travel conditions. Please be aware of your surroundings when outdoors as some tree limbs may have been weakened during the storm and may be compromised. Avoid any downed overhead wires," said the department in a statement.

9:30 a.m. -- More than 100,000 customers still without power

According to the We Energies power outage map, more than 100,000 are still without power after severe weather Tuesday evening.

To view the map, click here.

9:10 a.m. -- City of Milwaukee opens cooling centers amid high temperatures, power outages

The city of Milwaukee will open cooling centers on Wednesday, amid high temperatures and power outages. According to city officials, anticipated heat index values are expected to reach up to 102 degrees.

To view all of the cooling sites, click here.

Team coverage of severe storms

9 a.m. -- Severe weather outlook upgrades SE Wisconsin risk

All of SE Wisconsin is back in a level 3 of 5 "enhanced risk" for severe weather later today.

8:45 a.m. -- Mayor of West Allis asks for patience as the city cleans up after severe storms

Mayor Dan Devine from West Allis asked for patience from residents during the clean-up process.

8:40 a.m. -- Wauwatosa PD said their phone lines are down

The Wauwatosa Police Department said in a tweet that their phone lines are down and not working. The lobby is still open for in-person services. In case of an emergency, call 911.

8:30 a.m. -- Storm timing for Wednesday night: 5 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Storm Team 4 says these storms will likely be severe with damaging straight-line winds as the primary threat again. Click here to read the full forecast.

More storms on the way Wednesday

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