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Road crews, residents clean up after winter windstorm

Tree debris from a windstorm litters the streets of a Rhinelander neighborhood.
Erin Gottsacker
Tree debris from a windstorm litters the streets of a Rhinelander neighborhood.

Residents and road crews alike took to the streets Thursday morning to clean up after severe windstorms. In some places, that work has just begun.

Winds were still strong Thursday morning, when Ken Rierson revved up his chainsaw to clear the 50-foot downed tree that blocked his driveway.

“It took down this fence,” he says, pointing to a fence that buckled under the tree’s weight. “I don’t know if it busted the post off, I can’t tell for sure. It took down our welcome sign.”

It’s a sight not unlike many that Northwoods residents woke up to after a night of 30 to 70 mph winds.

However, lost fences and welcome signs are just the beginning of storm damages in the area.

Trees and downed power lines closed several sections of highway near Eagle River, Three Lakes and Antigo.

Ted Foley owns a tree service and has been fielding calls since the storm began. At least a dozen have been for trees that fell on homes and buildings.

“One of our clients have 15 large pine trees down in their yard on structures,” he says.

Foley has crews working from Merrill up to Eagle River.

He anticipates cleanup from the storm to take at least a week.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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