Thousands Without Power After Snowfall

Heavy snow has downed power lines and left thousands of customers without power in central and northeast Wisconsin.


Shawano County emergency officials said about 4,000 homes may be without power for two to three days before repairs can be finished. Most of those homes are on the west side of Shawano County.

Wisconsin Public Service said 14,900 customers were without power as of 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Because of the power outages, an emergency shelter was being opened Wednesday evening at the Waupaca Middle School.

The National Weather Service said 4 to 8 inches of snow fell across north-central Wisconsin by Wednesday afternoon, with 1 to 3 inches falling from Green Bay to Appleton.

In Baraboo, Alliant Energy is working to repair damaged power lines.

Alliant Energy said more than 2,600 residents in Sauk County were without power earlier Wednesday. The utility said there have also been sporadic outages in Columbia, Juneau and Marathon counties.

About 1,200 residents were still without power Wednesday night, and some likely wouldn’t get power back until Thursday, Alliant said.

University of Wisconsin-Baraboo/Sauk County canceled classes for Wednesday evening because the power went out.

“There’s a tree on the line that snapped it, and because we only have that single main line coming in, we lost all power to the campus,” said David Armstrong, assistant dean at UW-Baraboo/Sauk County.

Officials said that whether classes will be held Thursday is yet to be determined and depends on Alliant’s repair timeline.

A neighborhood near the campus was also in the dark Wednesday night, as residents cleared sidewalks without the glow of streetlights.

Alliant Energy crews are dealing with more than 100 independent outages across Sauk County.

“So it’s hard to get enough crews in one area to fix any one spot in any kind of timely manner,” said Jim Hoelter, a line tech for Alliant Energy. “This area we’re working in right here, we have multiple lines down, and we’re working to get as many customers in through switching as we can. We’re probably not going home tonight.”

Because of the high number of independent outages, Alliant said it can’t really pinpoint when power will be back on.

The Salvation Army in Baraboo is trying to help people who are without power overnight with temporary housing. Those in need of warmth may contact the Salvation Army at 608-356-4636.

In the Madison area, the evening commute Wednesday was slow-going due to the wet, heavy snow on the roads.

“Some vehicles have had troubles on off ramps, bridges, going around curves, and they’ve gone into the ditch or medians,” said Eric Novotny, of the Dane County Sheriff’s Department.

The Wisconsin State Patrol said its calls for service were fairly typical for a storm like this. As of Wednesday afternoon, the State Patrol reported 41 incidents in the region, including 17 crashes and 24 runoffs. Authorities said no serious injuries were reported.

WISC-TV meteorologist Gary Cannalte said Thursday will be variably cloudy, breezy and continued cold with a few flurries possible and a high of 36.

Any measurable snow probably won’t be around for long. Mostly sunny skies and temperatures near 50 degrees are expected by the end of the week.

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