Brodhead declares state of emergency due to storm damage
BRODHEAD--Tiffany Elmer and her two children sat in the darkness of her tiny cellar wrapped in a blanket Tuesday morning while a storm blew through Brodhead.
Transformers popped, windows rattled and objects blew into their house to create a scary morning, she said. When it was all over, half of a large maple tree was toppled onto her home, car and driveway.
Elmer’s is among about 90 properties in Brodhead damaged by the 5 a.m. storm.
“It was so windy outside and pouring at the same time. It looked like a hurricane,” she said. “It was nuts.”
The overnight storms that packed winds up to 60 mph left so much damage the city of Brodhead declared a state of emergency, Police Chief Tom Moczynski said. Trees or branches struck about 75 homes, and a number of utility poles or lines were hit, he said.
About one-third of Brodhead was without power Tuesday morning, Moczynski said. Brodhead public works and utility crews worked throughout the day to restore power.
Rock and Green counties remain under a flash flood watch through 7 a.m. Wednesday. Another round of thunderstorms was expected overnight Tuesday bringing 1 to 3 inches of additional rain, the National Weather Service predicted.
Green County highway workers and utility crews from surrounding areas helped clear roads and remove fallen trees Tuesday.
The emergency declaration puts residents on notice the city was hit by a significant event requiring outside resources, Moczynski said. It also lays the groundwork if Green County declares a disaster, which might open the door to financial assistance, he said.
“That's not a guaranteed thing,” he said.
Officials are documenting the damage and encourage residents to take photos and notes and contact their insurance agents.
People are cautioned to avoid any down utility lines and report them to Brodhead police at 608-897-2112.
Green County Sheriff Mark Rohloff said in a news release that authorities started receiving storm damage reports, including a barn down, shortly before 1 a.m. Tuesday in the northwestern areas of the county.
The second storm shortly before 5 a.m. Tuesday produced similar damage in the south and southeastern areas of the county, he said. Numerous calls of roads blocked by trees and downed power lines were received, a large shed was blown down on Preston Road, and a barn collapsed on Giese Road.
A tree that crashed through a mobile home was the worst damage reported in the Janesville area Tuesday morning.
Police, deputies, utility and public works crews responded to reports of trees, branches and wires down throughout Rock County.
No major road blockage, accidents or detours were reported as of 6 a.m., a Rock County Communications dispatcher said.
Downtown Janesville experienced a “fairly significant power outage,” said Sgt. Joshua Norem of the Janesville Police Department.
The outage affected several downtown businesses, and the police department was using a backup generator, he said.
Power went out around 1 a.m. and was restored by 3:25 a.m., Norem said.
The storm triggered several residential and business alarms, he said.
No street flooding was reported, but some tree branches blew into roads. They were cleared right away, he said.
“Everything appears to be back up and functioning normal,” Norem said at about 6 a.m.