Update On Northwoods Storm Damage

Jul 23, 2019

Agencies continue the cleanup in the aftermath of severe weather that caused extensive damage in northern Langlade and Oconto counties Friday evening.

Tuesday morning, Wisconsin Public Service spokesperson Matt Cullen gave us an update on power restoration efforts..

"...Since Friday evening we've been able to restore power to more than 153,000 customers across our service area. Our crews are going to be working around the clock...."

WPS estimated that 90 percent of the outages would be restored by Wednesday, but the hardest hit areas, including Elcho and Pickerel would likely be off until Thursday. Cullen says more than 200 additional utility workers from the Midwest have arrived to help out.

Justin Kern from the American Red Cross of says they're trying to help repair crews and residents affected by the massive storm..

"...Langlade in particular we have been providing some of the sheltering supplies for the partners of Team Rubicon who have been doing some of the clearing. It's more of a support shelter. As far as residents we are waiting on some contacts with Langlade county emergency officials in terms of what they may need in terms of resources..."

The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest lands took a hard hit from the winds that were clocked in excess of 90 mph. Spokesperson Hilary Markin says any of the Forest's recreations sites in Langlade and Oconto counties including trails are closed until further notice. There are numerous trees down in these areas and roadways are impassable. As areas are cleared the closure order will be updated daily. She says to monitor their website for updates.

Forest Service crews assessed Boulder Lake Campground and have determined that it is safe for camping. Markin says while the site might look safe, there's danger above..

"...We want to make sure to take our time to go in there and clear those trees, really looking up and down those trees. Make sure there's no 'widowmakers' hanging. We've seen a lot of damage way up in the canopy. You may be walking into a rec site and think nothing looks weird, but there's something 20 feet above your head that is just waiting up there..."

The National Weather Service reports the worst damage appears to have been associated with a "macroburst," a large downburst of straight-line winds that affected Langlade and Oconto counties. Many tens of thousands of trees were snapped or uprooted, resulting in damage to hundreds of homes and cottages. The path of the most extreme damage may have been 15 miles wide, and more than 25 miles long. Tornadoes were also noted at Tripoli, and beween Rhinelander and Pelican Lake in Oneida county.

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