Skip to main content

State of Emergency in Wisconsin as daylight reveals massive storm damage

A tornado may have directly hit a farmstead, causing destruction.

A potent line of severe thunderstorms left a swath of damage in its path as it chewed through east-central Minnesota before strengthening as it swept across Wisconsin. 

More than 90,000 Wisconsinites were without power Thursday morning due to reports of tornadoes and powerful downbursts that uprooted trees and downed power lines. 

“Last night’s storms affected communities from the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan, leaving many regions with widespread damage,” Gov. Tony Evers said. “I’m declaring a State of Emergency this morning to ensure state resources are available as we work together to get communities the support and help they need.”

Storms wrought havoc across western and central parts of the state. Hit hard were numerous communities, including Pepin County, just across the Minnesota border. 

"Pepin County has experienced significant weather that has knocked down many trees and power lines throughout the county," the sheriff's office announced. "Power companies, the highway department and fire departments have been dispatched to multiple areas in response. If you don’t have to travel, please stay home. The power companies that service our county will restore power as soon as possible."

While widespread damage was reported nearly all across the state, it appears that a farming family in a small rural area west of Milwaukee may have been hit directly by a tornado. 

The Zastro family lives in rural Concord and their farm was essentially destroyed by the possible tornado. Photos show extensive destruction.

"Two of the houses on the property are condemned, and the barn was completely flattened. Insurance still has to assess the damage, but nobody is allowed in the house due to instability. There is no way of knowing if they will be able to retrieve their personal belongings. All of the vehicles were damaged, if not totaled," a GoFundMe campaign for the Zastrow family says.  

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING WEATHER newsletters

A tornado may have produced damage near New Richmond in western Wisconsin. Tanner Charles posted video of the after-dark storm, noting that he could see a clear lowering and power flashes amid the constant lightning. 

The National Weather Service in Green Bay has asked people to provide photos of damage on their Facebook page, noting that they're especially interested to see what destructive winds did in Marathon, Portage, Waupaca and Winnebago counties.

One the hardest hit locations was Omro, a small town in Winnebago County.

"Please do not go near downed power lines or remove trees near a power line. Every line should be considered live!" the City of Omro warned residents Thursday morning.

The storms erupted after 7 p.m., hours after the weather service and media outlets warned people in Minnesota and Wisconsin of a rare moderate risk day for severe storms. The weather service later issued a PDS severe thunderstorm watch, meaning it was a "particularly dangerous situation." 

Next Up

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Minneapolis teen charged in carjacking, chase that left 2 dead

Two 16-year-olds died when the SUV they crashed in was split in half.

BasswoodMug

Minnesota woman who pointed gun at officer sentenced to 10 years in prison

The sheriff's deputy shot the woman multiple times in the incident.

TiresRoadForestLake

Who left tires all over the road in Forest Lake?

Authorities said they would "love to chat" with the people responsible.

AlexanderKueng

Ex-cop Kueng sentenced to 3½ years in prison in killing of George Floyd

Kueng pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in October.

MinneapolisChildGoFundMe

Effort to support flu-stricken boy who spent his birthday on ventilator

The 10-year-old has been on a ventilator after complications followed.

nbm-conus-ncentus-total_snow_10to1-1170400

What's the latest on next week's major snowstorm system?

The storm is coming. It's just a matter of where the biggest snow totals occur.

Screen Shot 2022-12-09 at 12.01.44 PM

Twin Cities radio host Matt McNeil seriously injured in crash

A post on his social media account says he'll recover.

Screen Shot 2022-12-09 at 12.48.55 PM

Marshalls in downtown Minneapolis to close its doors to shoppers

The company confirmed it will be open until mid-January.

Screen Shot 2022-12-09 at 9.45.35 AM

Boys aged 12 and 14 arrested after fleeing police in stolen car

The two boys were charged with felony fleeing in a motor vehicle and receiving stolen property.

JackknifedSemiI35

Heavy snow brings multiple crashes to southern Minnesota roads

The snowfall is expected to end sometime Friday morning.

Cheetah Pizza

Edina pizza joint quietly closes after 38 years

The restaurant was located at 5125 Edina Industrial Blvd.

Related

Screen Shot 2019-07-30 at 7.01.25 AM

6 tornadoes confirmed in July 28 severe outbreak in MN, WI

The strongest tornado hit near Silver Lake, Minnesota.

storm, severe weather, derecho

Rare moderate risk – level 4 of 5 – for severe storms in MN, WI

"Have a way to receive warnings and be prepared to seek shelter quickly with these fast moving storms," says the NWS.

Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 6.49.28 AM

Labor Day storms leave behind damage reports across Minnesota

A tornado was confirmed on radar between St. Bonifacius and Maple Plain.

storm damage

Storm damage in northern MN; severe weather threat through Wednesday

Storms could pack a punch again Tuesday and especially Wednesday.

Screen Shot 2021-12-14 at 8.28.52 AM

Damaging winds, tornadoes possible with 'rare weather setup' Wednesday

Ten days before Christmas and there could be tornadoes in Minnesota.

uprooted tree in Burnsville

NWS: Tornadoes confirmed to have struck Apple Valley, Burnsville, Savage

A crazy night of storms may have included even more tornadoes.