MILWAUKEE (AP) — The buzz of chain saws could be heard around Wisconsin Thursday as residents worked to clean up after storms this week produced more than a dozen tornadoes.
The National Weather Service in Milwaukee confirmed at least 16 tornadoes touched down in Wisconsin as storms rolled through the state Tuesday into Wednesday. That tally could grow as weather service crews complete damage surveys, meteorologist Ben Miller said.
Several tornadoes touched down in Fond du Lac County, said Lori Getter, a spokeswoman with Wisconsin Emergency Management. One twister landed in Dodge County and traveled 3 miles (5 kilometers) on the ground, destroying trees. Another formed along the Calumet-Manitowoc County line and destroyed a barn. No one was hurt, she said.
Gov. Scott Walker surveyed damage in Fond du Lac County on Thursday morning. He posted pictures on Twitter showing him walking with U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman past a downed tree and examining storm-twisted fascia on a house.
Walker declared a statewide emergency on Wednesday, authorizing state agencies and the Wisconsin National Guard to help local governments with recovery efforts.
Despite a day of quieter weather Wednesday, flood warnings remained in effect for the Milwaukee River in Ozaukee County, the Crawfish River at Milford, the Rock River at Waupun, the Wisconsin River at Portage, the Baraboo River in Sauk County and the La Crosse River in La Crosse County.
State emergency officials said some areas have received more than 14 inches (36 centimeters) of rain over the past two weeks. Communities across the state were still wrestling with flooded roads, downed trees and power outages late Wednesday evening.
Getter said emergency officials had to evacuate about 15 people in North Freedom and Rock Springs early Thursday morning as the Baraboo River continued to rise.
In southeastern Minnesota, torrential rain washed away an entire hillside near Como Falls, a waterfall on Thompson Creek in Hokah. Local authorities said the picturesque waterfall is gone and that a handful of nearby houses are in danger of being flooded.
Forecasts call for more thunderstorms to move into region Friday evening into Saturday morning. Authorities are bracing for rainfall of 2 inches or more in some spots.
“We’re hopeful the storms will stay down in Illinois or other areas,” Getter said. “It’s pretty wet, pretty bad. Today’s going to be just clean up and sandbagging efforts.”
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