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Storms cause damage in Rock, Walworth counties

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Gazette staff
June 20, 2009
— No tornadoes were spotted in Rock or Walworth counties after Friday’s early-morning thunderstorm, but winds did wreak havoc on trees and power lines.

“I would say it was a big event, yeah, because of storm damage and heavy rainfall, but not unusual for this time of year,” said Brian Hahn of the National Weather Service.


A second storm mid-morning took Rock County’s main transmission tower off the air for about a half-hour, but the backup equipment worked fine, said Dave Sleeter, communications director.


Overnight Friday

Two trees and a power line were blown down at 12:45 a.m. in Evansville, including one tree that hit a car, Hahn said.


A tree also was blown over at 1:10 a.m. in the northwest portion of Walworth County, he said.


The Rock County Sheriff’s Office responded to several calls of fallen trees, Capt. Gary Groelle said.


No one reported damage to buildings or injuries, he said.


Friday mid-morning

A power surge knocked Rock County’s main tower off the air at 10:12 a.m. Friday, Sleeter said.


He wasn’t sure if the tower west of Janesville was struck by lightning. He did not see any burn marks when he drove to the tower to reset equipment after the outage, Sleeter said.


The 300-foot tower is on County A near Burdick Road in Janesville Township. When it went offline, transmission automatically switched to the standby tower at the county complex on County F on Janesville’s north side, Sleeter said.


The transition to standby went just as planned. The only difference emergency responders and other scanner listeners might have noticed was the announcement of the change and some testing of the standby equipment, Sleeter said.


“We kept right on going,” Sleeter said.


Outlook

Rock County had rainfall measuring from 0.28 to 2.65 inches early Friday morning, Hahn said, and Walworth County had 1.04 to 3.39 inches.


Rain caused the Rock River to spike to 6.54 feet at Afton and 7.52 feet at Newville, but the river remains well below the 9- and 10-foot flood stages, respectively.


The river is not expected to reach flood stage in the near future, Hahn said.


“This rain caused some sudden jumps, but not really enough to cause flooding,” he said.


Despite recent thunderstorms, the weather should be pleasant this weekend.


Today is expected to be partly sunny with the high temperature in the mid-80s.


Sunday is expected to be in the low-80s with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon.



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