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Wisconsin Rapids power system hit hard by storms


WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WSAU) -- The early morning storms caused extensive damage and many power outages in central and northern Wisconsin.  One of the hardest hit areas is Wisconsin Rapids, where Water and Light Commission Manager Joel Mathews says the early morning storm affected almost half of their customers.  "The storms blew thru here at about 4:15 to 4:30 this morning, and the utility lost power to about 6,000 of our 14,000 customers.  The distribution system sustained quite a bit of damage with falling limbs and falling trees.”

Mathews says power has been restored to most residents, but they still have a lot of work to do.  “We’ve essential got most of them back up.  I think a fair estimate right now would be about 200 folks are still without power.  Unfortunately, this last part is going to be time consuming and very labor intensive to restore power to those final 200.”

Wisconsin Rapids Water and Lighting Commission has put in a request for mutual aid from other power companies to help restore service, but so far, the other crews have been busy in their home districts.

Mathews says their Water Department crews have been helping clear branches and trees so their linemen can continue repairing damaged lines.  His advice is to leave your freezers shut to preserve the cold, and to prepare for power to be out as late as midday Tuesday in these hard hit areas.  Mathews advices people in these areas still without power to get some ice or use a generator if possible.