At 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, Central Wisconsin got hit with high winds and lightning. The storm felled countless trees, knocking out power in the process.
Wisconsin Public Service reporting outages affecting over 16,000 customers. Merrill was the hardest hit, with 159 separate outages affecting 5,000 customers. In Tomahawk, one outage impacted 809 customers.
As city and county crews, along with citizens, worked to clear trees from roadways, WPS crews were out in force with additional crews en-route from Green Bay, Chilton, Two Rivers, Oshkosh, Stevens Point and Rhinelander to Merrill and Antigo.
High winds and lighting are being blamed for the power outages.
As of 2:15 p.m. Tuesday, about 5,000 WPS customers remained without power. As areas were restored, additional crews moved to the Merrill and Antigo areas where the largest number of outages remained. At that point, Merrill still had about 2,080 customers out in 173 separate outages, while Antigo had about 1,500 customers out in 56 outages. The remaining areas are expected to restore service to their customers by later this evening. According to WPS, it is likely some Merrill customers won't be returned to service until Wednesday. A few Antigo customers could also remain without service.
UPDATE: As of 8:15 a.m. Wednesday, about 162 WPS customers remained without power. As areas are restored, additional crews were moved to the Merrill and Antigo areas, which had the largest number of outages. Merrill still has about 54 customers out in 54 separate outages, while Antigo had about 104 customers out in 5 outages. WPS was hoping to have these customers restored by noon Wednesday.