We Energies says it will take multiple days to completely restore power; cooling centers open with temps rising

NOW: We Energies says it will take multiple days to completely restore power; cooling centers open with temps rising

NEXT:

NEW BERLIN, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Nearly 100,000 We Energies customers were still without power Wednesday evening, Aug. 11. With hot and humid temperatures, cooling shelters are open in the Milwaukee area for those who need relief. 

We Energies is asking for patience from customers. Crews are working throughout the area, from Waukesha all the way down to Racine and Kenosha.

Widespread storm damage across southeastern Wisconsin meant a long night for the company. Tom Metcalfe, president of We Energies, said it will take multiple days to completely restore power.

"We are fully mobilized on the largest restoration in our company's history," Metcalfe said.

Monitor the We Energies outage map by clicking here.

Follow updates from the CBS Ready Weather team here.

34th and Burnham, Milwaukee

34th and Burnham, Milwaukee

34th and Burnham, Milwaukee

34th and Burnham, Milwaukee

Tree down in Oconomwoc, credit Tina Maki

Tree down in Oconomwoc, credit Tina Maki

71st and Burnham, Milwaukee 

Pewaukee storm cloud, credit Kelly Rockefeller

Pewaukee storm cloud, credit Kelly Rockefeller

Pewaukee storm cloud, credit Kelly Rockefeller

Trampoline and part of fence flies into neighbor's patio in Kenosha, credit: Der Lee 

Pontoon boat tossed on Eagle Spring Lake in Waukesha County

Trees down in Fort Atkinson

Trees down in Fort Atkinson

Summit and Hartford tree down, near UWM in Milwaukee

Trees uprooted in West Allis

West Allis storm damage, credit Donna Ziebell

West Allis storm damage, credit Donna Ziebell

West Allis storm damage, credit Donna Ziebell

We Energies had between 400 and 500 employees working to get the lights back on Wednesday, and the company called in help from outside Wisconsin.

"Nothing that I've seen in We Energies in my time at the company, and we go back at least two decades. We've not seen anything like this," Metcalfe said.

The storms brought down power lines and knocked out traffic lights. Crews have restored power to more than 100,000 customers, and they're hoping to reach an additional 50,000 by midnight.

"We're managing OK, but it'd be nice to have the power back on so I can get into the refrigerator and get a cold beer," said Richard Piontek from New Berlin.

He lives near the Woodshire neighborhood in New Berlin, where the power went out around 7 a.m. Wednesday. The power had been restored for some homes there by 2 p.m.

That was the case for Gene Szaj and his wife, who live on Chancel Court in New Berlin. The storms brought down a tree estimated to be about 200 years old. Szaj said it could have been the largest bur oak remaining in Wisconsin.

"It was the crown jewel of the neighborhood some people told us, and now, it's no more," Szaj said.

The prized tree hit his garage, damaging the gutters and part of his house. He's sad to see the tree go, but he's grateful no one was hurt.

"You get some nasty storms, but it's stood here for so many years. (You think) 'OK it can withstand almost anything right?' Not quite true," he said.

A heat advisory has been issued for most of southeast Wisconsin Wednesday, as well.

When temperatures reach dangerous levels, it’s important to take precautionary measures to keep yourself safe.

The Milwaukee Health Department recommends the following:

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to take a drink of water.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing and a hat.
  • Find shade if you have to be outdoors.
  • Avoid high-energy activities such as strenuous exercise.
  • Take cool showers/baths to help lower your body temperature.
  • Avoid using your oven when possible to prevent creating excess heat in your home
  • Check in on family members and neighbors, especially those who are high-risk.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness.
  • Take care of your pets. Do not leave pets in closed cars, be aware of the effect pavement temperatures have on your pet’s paws, and ensure pets have plenty of water available.
  • Stay indoors in air-conditioned spaces as much as possible. If your home does not have air conditioning, consider visiting public air-conditioned spaces, such as local cooling centers.

View the list of available cooling centers and public pools below:

Share this article:
 
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?