An overnight thunderstorm packing high winds and heavy rain downed trees and knocked out power to parts of western Wisconsin Saturday morning. Xcel Energy was reporting thousands of customers impacted by electrical outages in the Chippewa Valley on their online electrical outage map just after 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Xcel Energy's map showed over 510 customers without power in Eau Claire county, 907 in Chippewa, 166 in Dunn, 145 in Polk, 1205 in St. Croix, 243 in Pierce and 644 in Trempealeau.
An Excel spokeswoman says crews have been out all night, working to restore power.
Campers at Rock Fest in Cadott took cover as the storm hit, just before 3:00 AM, according to posts on Facebook and Twitter.
The National Weather Service issued severe thunderstorm warnings for much of west central Wisconsin, as the powerful storm moved through. A tornado warning was canceled as the storm weakened. So far, there are no reports of any injuries from the storm.
Excel Energy issued the following statement:
Xcel Energy crews continue to restore power to customers affected by severe weather overnight. An estimated 225,000 customers in Minnesota and Wisconsin lost service due to the storms. Crews working through the night restored 92,000 customers, representing about 40 percent of the total number of outages. In Wisconsin, approximately 4,700 customers remain without power – of those 3,100 are in the Chippewa Valley.
The severe line of thunderstorms produced lightning and strong winds, bringing down trees and branches on power lines. In anticipation of severe weather, Xcel Energy prepared prior to the storm by pre-staging additional crews and staff in areas expected to be impacted. Xcel Energy crews from across five states, contractors and mutual aid crews are being dispatched to restore service
All available crews will work throughout the day to restore service as quickly and safely as possible. Due to the extent of the damage and the number of outages, a total restoration time will not be determined until later today.
Xcel Energy cautions customers to stay away from downed power lines in their neighborhoods. A downed line could still be energized and is very dangerous. Report downed lines immediately at 1-800-895-1999.
Due to the high volume of calls to the Xcel Energy call center, customers may be experiencing difficulties. Emergency calls should be directed to 9-1-1.
Stay with WQOW for updates throughout the day.