By Shereen Siewert
Police are urging drivers to use caution during the morning commute after a major storm ripped through the Wausau area that produced at least one tornado.
As of 6:30 a.m. more than 20,000 people are without power in central and northern Wisconsin, according to Wisconsin Public Service. The storm downed trees and power lines, creating a dangerous situation throughout the area. Wind speeds were estimated at 60-65 mph. A private weather station in Weston also reached wind speeds of 78 mph, according to the National Weather Service.
“With the severe weather that came through Marathon County last night, we urge the public to drive with caution this morning,” the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department cautions. “The damage from the severe weather can be seen across the county. Our Deputies, Highway Department, Townships, and Communications Center worked in concert to field a high quantity of trees and powerlines in the roadways calls. Should you come across a powerline down across a road way DO NOT drive across it. The local power companies have been notified and are working to resolve these issues.”
Crews report standing water on many roads and power outages remain an issue. Internet outages are also reported.
“Please do not call 911 because you are without power,” sheriff’s officials said. “If you are without power, contact your local service provider.”
Heavy morning fog is also complicating morning travel, according to the Wausau Police Department, and power outages mean some stop lights are out.