LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - Strong gusts of wind pushed trees and power lines into the streets of La Crosse this morning, many damaging homes and cars.
Xcel Energy crews have been out all day moving branches from the roads and restoring power lines.
Dozens of trees uprooted from the ground; some landed on homes.
Laverne Jonas woke up to find a tree limb on his driveway, just feet from his house on County Rd. B.
"It was raining, and blowing, and nasty, and then I heard the sirens and I decided – even though I'm retired – it's time to get up. Check it out," Jonas said.
What he saw were trees uprooted and blocking the roads, knocking down power lines in the way.
"I've never seen anything like this,” Jonas said. “And I've lived out in this area since 1970."
Like the damage to the home of his next door neighbor.
"I didn't realize the severity. My dad had told me there was a mess on the roof and Laverne informed me it was a tree down,” said Scott Fjelstad. Wind knocked a tree onto his garage.
He said crash rattled a few windows, but it didn't disrupt his sleep.
"Yeah, I was pretty tired,” Fjelstad said.
"The big concern is that trees fall on energy lines and they cause fires in the homes,” said Division Chief Jeff Murphy of the La Crosse Fire Department.
Murphy said he responded to a handful of those calls in La Crosse. None were too serious.
Between the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 10 a.m., 10 people called into the fire department for storm-related assistance, according to the La Crosse Fire Department.
"It just gives you a little shivers now and then when you think about how close some of these trees came to coming through a house,” Jonas said.
Jonas said his neighbors even helped one another weather the storm by pulling branches out of the road so some people could drive to work.
A spokesperson for Xcel Energy said at one point today, 5,000 people in the La Crosse and Onalaska areas did not have power. As of 5 p.m., power has been restored to all but 165 people in Onalaska. The timeline for when they will get power back is unknown.
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