A heavy thunderstorm came through Lincoln County on Saturday afternoon causing major problems but causing no known injuries.
The first report of damage came in from the City of Tomahawk at 2:03 p.m. and the calls continued to come in reporting damage for several hours. Damage was reported in the City of Tomahawk, City of Merrill, along with the Towns of Bradley, King, Harrison, Merrill, Pine River, Schley and Wilson. Nineteen calls were received from the Tomahawk area while 32 reports were taken from the Merrill area. Most of these reports dealt with downed lines, downed trees or power outages.
According to WPS, 2,605 homes were without power in Merrill and 3,527 in Tomahawk. Repair crews reported trees up rooted, broken poles and roads blocked by trees making it challenging to restore power. According to a WPS statement, broken poles can take up to three hours to replace and downed wires can take two hours to repair.
While over 10,000 customers had their power restored in seven to 10 hours, additional WPS and UPPCO (Upper Peninsula Power Co-WPS owned and operated company) crews were called in Sunday morning to assist in restoration efforts. Contracted crews from Illinois and Wisconsin also were brought in to assist.
The power outages also affected the communities of Minocqua, Rhinelander, Eagle River, Wausau and Antigo. Some customers did not have their power restored until Monday.
Tomahawk firefighters responded to County Road D and Shorewood Road after a tree got caught on a power line and started on fire at 2:08 p.m. Tomahawk firefighters also assisted deputies in clearing downed trees throughout the area, they also checked homes on Pommern Road and Loka Bay Road in the Town of King after trees fell down on homes.
Merrill Firefighters responded to two calls in the city during the storm after trees got tangled in wires, starting small fires.
While most of the trees that were brought down in the storm blocked roads and took out power lines, some landed on homes.
The Merrill Street Department began cleaning up the downed trees Monday, with efforts continuing into mid-week.