Strong winds and inch-wide hail engulfed the Madison area Wednesday morning, during a second bout of severe storms that left many county residents without power.
After issuing severe weather warnings for both Jefferson and Dane County, the National Weather Service confirmed the touchdown of six tornados across southern Wisconsin, including two in Dane County, in a report Wednesday.
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan declared a state of emergency early yesterday morning following Tuesday’s early morning storm, according to a Dane County Statement.
The statement said there were nearly 350 reports of storm damage across Dane County with the most affected places in the West Towne, Schroeder Rd. and Isthmus areas.
Joel Despain, Madison Police department spokesperson, said that Madison was not spared in the storms.
“This morning we’ve had numerous reports of trees down, power lines down, we’ve got damage to a couple of homes in the sawmill drive area, and we’ve also had some traffic lights out in various parts of the city,” Despain said. “The storm prior to this damaged a good number of homes on the near west side near Schroeder road, and we also had a lot of trees that came down on the near east side of town, and some of those dropped on two homes causing damage.”
The mayor has estimated at least $10 million in damage from the previous storm, Despain said.
According to Despain, the previous storm damaged around 25 homes and resulted in one minor injury, but no one was critically injured.
“Given the extent of the damage in some of our neighborhoods we feel fortunate no one was seriously hurt,” Parisi said in a statement. “Many people’s lives were changed shortly after midnight and now we need to do what we can to help them get back on their feet.”
As of 10 a.m. Wednesday morning there were more than 17,000 power outages reported as a result of this morning’s severe weather, according to a statement from the Wisconsin Emergency Operations Center.
“The Sun Prairie and Cottage Grove areas were most heavily impacted by [today’s] storms,” Chief of staff at the Dane County executive office, Joshua Wescott, said in a statement. “At least five houses in Sun Prairie were damaged when trees fell on them. Cars were also damaged by falling trees.”
Madison Gas and Electric said they will continue to have crews work over night to restore electricity to all of their customers, in a statement.
The National Weather Service forecasts another line of strong storms to move across Wisconsin throughout the night with the possibility of flash flooding. A Flash Flood Watch has been issued for western and south central Wisconsin until Thursday morning.
Dane County Emergency Management team is urging residents to report damages to their local municipalities in order to gather total damage to the area, and suggests those in the area to contact their insurance agent with a list of all damages, according to their statement.
To ensure safety for residents in the future, Despain said that the Madison Police department advises people to be vigilant to keep an ear to the weather radio and TV stations.
University of Wisconsin wireless internet has been down since Wednesday morning, however UW-Madison DoIT said on its Twitter account that many campus buildings have been able to access the internet by rebooting and using the ethernet connection.