At least 8 tornadoes touch down in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE (AP) -

The buzz of chain saws could be heard around Wisconsin Thursday as residents worked to clean up from this week’s damaging storms.

The National Weather Service says at least eight tornadoes touched down in Wisconsin as storms rolled through the state Tuesday into Wednesday.

Weather service meteorologist Mark Gehring says six of those tornadoes were in Fond du Lac County.

Lori Getter, a spokeswoman with Wisconsin Emergency Management, said the seventh tornado landed in Dodge County and traveled 3 miles (5 kilometers) on the ground, destroying trees. The eighth tornado formed along the Calumet-Manitowoc County line and destroyed a barn. There’s been no reports of any injuries, she said.

Gehring said the weather service is still surveying damage and the confirmed number of tornadoes will likely increase.

Gov. Scott Walker planned to survey damage in Fond du Lac County on Thursday morning. He declared a statewide emergency on Wednesday, authorizing state agencies and the Wisconsin National Guard to help local governments with recovery efforts.

Despite a day of quieter weather Wednesday, flood warnings remained in effect for the Milwaukee River in Ozaukee County, the Crawfish River at Milford, the Rock River at Waupun, the Wisconsin River at Portage, the Baraboo River in Sauk County and the La Crosse River in La Crosse County.

Possible tornadoes uprooted trees, stranded train travelers, leveled a barn and snapped power lines in Wisconsin. Storms with powerful winds and driving rain have caused extensive damage since Tuesday. (Aug. 30)

State emergency officials said some areas have received more than 14 inches (36 centimeters) of rain over the past two weeks. Communities across the state were still wrestling with flooded roads, downed trees and power outages late Wednesday evening.

Getter said emergency officials had to evacuate about 15 people in North Freedom and Rock Springs early Thursday morning as the Baraboo River continued to rise.

In southeastern Minnesota, torrential rain washed away an entire hillside near Como Falls, a waterfall on Thompson Creek in Hokah. Local authorities said the picturesque waterfall is gone and that a handful of nearby houses are in danger of being flooded.

Forecasts call for more thunderstorms to move into region Friday evening.

“We’re hopeful the storms will stay down in Illinois or other areas,” Getter said. “It’s pretty wet, pretty bad. Today’s going to be just clean up and sandbagging efforts.”

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