UPDATE: Assessing La Crosse's storm damage - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Assessing La Crosse's storm damage


LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - La Crosse Mayor Matt Harter calls it "nothing short of a miracle".

Harter is talking about the fact that no one was seriously injured or killed in yesterday's suspected tornado that hit La Crosse Sunday.

Harter and other city officials held a news conference at the corner of Green Bay Street and West Avenue Monday morning at the boundary of the area hit by the storm.

The Mayor says that the damage cost is into the "millions".  The city is looking at what resources are available at the state level to help with cleanup and rebuilding.  Governor Scott Walker plans to tour the area today to see the destruction.

Around 20 families were displaced by storm damage.  A spokesperson from the La Crosse Fire Department says that they are inspecting businesses and homes for structural damage.  Anyone who was evacuated from the area Sunday won't be able to get back in until a later time.

The department called in all of their off duty firefighters to help handle the multiple calls for assistance.  Mayor Matt Harter says the situation is a public safety issue, and that overtime is not an issue at this point.

The storm damaged area still contains large amounts of debris, downed trees, and downed power lines.

Capt. Jason Melby of the La Crosse Police Department asks that people avoid the area to allow for crews to clean up and to restore power.


LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) - Assessment of the damage caused by Sunday's storm continues as crews and residents start to clean up the mess.

At a news conference Monday morning, La Crosse Police Captain Jason Melby asks that people avoid the area where the storm tore through to allow workers to get the area clean.

Melby says that as of 930am, roughly 1,400 La Crosse area residents were without power.  He says Xcel Energy is expecting electricity to be restored to those homes and businesses by the end of the day.

He also thanked area law enforcement officers who came to La Crosse to help assist with traffic control and patrolling the area due to the overwhelming number of calls La Crosse Police received.

Division Chief Mike Jorgensen of the La Crosse Fire Department says that they called in all off duty firefighters to help assist with the multiple calls.

Gundersen Lutheran, which was using backup power following the storm to two of its main buildings, is now at normal operations.

We will have more information on the news conference later this morning here on wxow.com


LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW/AP) -- One La Crosse resident says Sunday's powerful storm "was like a scene from `The Wizard of Oz' or `Twister.'

Therese Kaiser says "things were just airborne."

In the light of a new day Monday, residents and officials began to take stock of the damage that left homes uninhabitable and neighborhoods scattered with debris and broken trees. Officials say at least 200 homes and businesses were damaged along a path three to four blocks wide and a mile long on the city's south side.

Mayor Matt Harter said the fact no one was killed or seriously injured is "nothing short of a miracle."

There were reports of only two minor injuries amid the damage caused by the suspected, but not confirmed tornado that struck the southside of La Crosse.

Harter declared a state of emergency due to the swath of damage in the city. 

In Sparta, police officers spotted a funnel cloud in the sky shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday. Police Chief Mike Kass says a half-dozen homes and businesses sustained severe storm damage.

At least one car at an auto dealership in Sparta was overturned by the confirmed tornado.

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