High winds downed trees and power lines, sparking grass fires and causing damage throughout central Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of Paula Clark.

By Shereen Siewert

High winds downed trees and power lines on Wednesday throughout central Wisconsin, in a wind storm that left thousands without power statewide.

Firefighters from multiple agencies responded Wednesday afternoon to a grass fire near Hatley fanned by wind gusts of more than 40 mph. The flames were quickly brought under control.

Representatives from area law enforcement agencies and the Department of Natural Resources say they have responded to dozens of calls from residents since the wind advisory was issued. At least one crash, reported around 2 pm north of Wausau on Hwy. 51, is attributed to the high winds, after a tractor trailer lost control and overturned, police say.

A severe weather system began rolling through central Wisconsin at about 9:30 p.m. Monday night. Reports of outages came in shortly after.

Nearly 18,000 customers were without power on Wednesday morning, according to data from Wisconsin Public Service.

No injuries have so far been reported.