UPDATE: The National Weather Service now says three tornadoes, in fact, caused most of the storm damage in the Fox Valley and northeast Wisconsin early yesterday.
Severe thunder storms during the overnight (Wednesday morning) did a lot of damage and claimed at least one life.
The National Weather Service is trying to determine whether a tornado touched down, causing significant damage. Tod Pritchard is with Wisconsin Emergency Management. “Whether it’s a tornado or straight-line winds this was a very damaging storm. I mean, we’re seeing damage comparable to a tornado.” Pritchard says it was very powerful, “and it really clobbered us.”
The line of severe thunderstorms that raced across portions of central and northeast Wisconsin, at more than 100 mph, taking down numerous trees and power lines, leaving thousands of people in the dark. Pritchard says structural damage was also reported, including several destroyed barns, sheds, garages, and significant crop damage. In Waupaca County, Trinity Lutheran Church in New London was destroyed.
“You know, we’re still counting. I think the damage is still being assessed.”
The most significant damage was reported in Brown, Outagamie, and Marinette Counties. “But there were ten counties that got hit pretty good.”
Tens of thousands of customers were without power. WE Energies anticipates it will take three days before power is restored after receiving damage to three of their sub-stations. Over 150 broken utility poles were reported. The Red Cross has opened three shelters. In Marinette County, a worker was killed while clearing storm debris.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:29
Governor Scott Walker is scheduled to tour the damage in New London Thursday morning.