Winds from Sandy reached all the way to WisconsinWisconsin News
-- For most of Wisconsin, the effects of Superstorm Sandy have blown away.
For most of Wisconsin, the effects of Superstorm Sandy have blown away. The East Coast storm brought strong winds yesterday to all of the Badger State. But those winds have died down, even along some areas of Lake Michigan. Door County is the only place remaining under a wind advisory this morning. Sturgeon Bay still had winds up to 35-miles-an-hour at five a-m. Yesterday’s gusts were as high as 53 at Sheboygan. Officials warned of traffic problems and utility breakdowns in Door County. But the Wisconsin Public Service utility reported no outages there as of five o’clock. With little work to do here, utility workers have joined Red Cross volunteers and others in helping millions in the Eastern U-S who are still without power. X-cel Energy sent eight linemen from its Eau Claire office to West Virginia. Meanwhile, the calmer winds have also brought colder temperatures to northwest Wisconsin. It was only 14 degrees at Hayward at five o’clock. And Land O’Lakes in Vilas County reported light snow. But the clouds are expected to disappear in short order this morning, and forecasters expect a sunny day with highs in the 40’s. Tonight’s Halloween trick-or-treaters will have clear weather, with temperatures falling into the 20’s-and-30’s by tomorrow morning. The next chance of rain or snow is on Saturday.
Scientists at U-W Madison knew a week ago that Superstorm Sandy would hit landfall in New Jersey – which it did on Monday night. The university’s Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Studies shared satellite images and a host of data it developed with an unprecedented 5-to-6 days of lead time. Senior researcher Chris Velden said the computer models gave the National Hurricane Center plenty of time to fine-tune its forecasts – and as a result, many lives were saved. As it was, at least 51 people died – damage is in the billions – and over eight-million people remain without power in 17 states. Seven U-W scientists are continuing to monitor satellite images of Sandy, and they’re working closely with federal weather officials. In Wisconsin, there were some reports of erosion along Lake Michigan caused by the storm. High winds hit the entire state yesterday, but they’ve subsided in most places. And shipping came to a halt on the Great Lakes, due to the extremely choppy waters and high waves.
Wisconsin’s property insurers are already getting damage claims from their East Coast customers affected by Superstorm Sandy. American Family Insurance of Madison received about 75 property damage claims yesterday from northeast Ohio – mostly in the Cleveland area. Spokesman Steve Witmer said most of the claims were for relatively minor wind-and-rain damage. Some were for flooding and sewage backups as the result of power outages that knocked out sump pumps. Witmer said American Family plans to send additional claims’ adjusters to the Eastern U-S to expedite matters. At Sentry Insurance in Stevens Point, adjusters are dealing with almost 30 damage claims as of yesterday – including 16 from businesses. Spokeswoman Mary Weller said most were due to trees falling on homes and vehicles. And some businesses reported roof damage. Church Mutual of Merrill says its busiest day should be on Monday, after the churches and religious facilities they insure determine the scope of their damages. Analysts say it’s too early to determine the insured damages from Sandy.
About 11-thousand electric customers were without power last night in the Wausau area – and utility officials are not sure if Superstorm Sandy could be to blame. Wisconsin Public Service said there was an equipment failure at a sub-station in Wausau. Crews worked overnight to restore power. As of 6:30, the utility’s Web site reported no outages in its entire service area of north central and northeast Wisconsin.