Alliant Energy crews have been working around the clock to restore power to those who don’t, according to an update from Ripon Police Department on Friday morning.
Alliant Energy says additional crews will come to help on Friday morning, police said.
According to officials, fewer than 1,000 customers in Ripon and the surrounding area were without electricity on Friday morning.
As of Friday morning, some roads in Ripon were still closed due to fallen trees and / or wires, and the Department of Public Works will continue to clear these areas.
Power to part of Ripon was restored after a severe thunderstorm swept through the city late Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, knocking down numerous trees and power lines, and causing a city-wide blackout.
As the storm hit the city, the Ripon Police Department, Ripon Fire Department and the Ripon Guardian Ambulance Service responded by setting up an Incident Command Center.
Although the storm did not cause injury or death in the city of Ripon, it caused significant property damage. Police and firefighters received about 25 calls from rundown power lines and officials are expecting to hear more.
In addition, public security officers responded to an apartment to complete a rescue. The Ripon Fire Department responded overnight to a fire call on Silver Creek Road in Ripon City.
Alliant Energy confirmed that power cuts across the city, affecting around 9,000 customers in the city, according to Ripon Police.
The city has worked directly with Alliant Energy, whose crews are working to restore power to the areas still affected. It is still unclear when the entire city will be supplied with electricity again.
American Transmission Co. experienced a system outage in the Ripon and Berlin areas after the storms that struck Wisconsin Wednesday night and Thursday morning, according to a press release.
“Our main goals right now are to complete our damage analysis, protect our crews and the public, and restore power to the area as soon as possible,” said company spokeswoman Jody Lau. “We don’t yet know when service will be restored.”
At the same time, officials are working to provide services to those affected by the storm.
The city has partnered with the American Red Cross to provide a charging station at the Ripon Senior Center in the basement of City Hall. Thursday from 12 noon to 6 p.m. At the station, mobile devices can be charged and water can be fetched. The Ripon Public Library opened at noon to provide air conditioning for those who need it.
“We encourage you to use these resources when you need them,” said Lindsey Michels, Community Liaison Officer, during a lunch meeting.
During a press conference this morning, officials urged residents to avoid unnecessary travel and urged visitors to avoid the city altogether while crews work on the cleanup.
“It wasn’t just a normal thunderstorm; This was a major weather event that happened here last night, ”said city administrator Adam Sonntag. “… We have crews cleaning up and it’s dangerous, there are active power lines, so this is obviously an unsafe situation.”
He said the city’s top priority is clearing the streets so that emergency services can travel safely within the city.
To do this, Ripon is working with Green Lake County and Fond du Lac County Public Works, according to Sonntag.
“We hope the streets are clear and open to traffic this afternoon,” said the city administrator in a noon update.
Fire Chief Tim Saul added that avoiding travel is still important as it is believed that every power line on the road is live.
“Whenever a power line fails, you want to assume that it is live,” he said. “That power line could be in contact with a fence that you can’t see.”
Regarding the report of people trapped in a residence, Police Chief Bill Wallner said a tree fell on the house. All residents were evacuated unharmed, he noted.
Saul said the Ripon Fire Department responded to two fires, one more significant than the other.
The fire was started by a generator that caught fire and no one was injured during the incident, he noted.
Saul added that it was important to use generators safely and reminded people to keep them away from combustible materials and keep them outside of a structure.
“If you want to use generators, please use them carefully,” he said. “If this continues all night … please be careful using your candles and make sure your smoke alarms are working.”
The fact that no one was killed in the urban area during the storm on Sunday was due to “the hard work” of the police, fire brigade and ambulance service.
“Everyone did a great job responding and making sure [people] were safe, ”he said.
After Thursday morning press conference, Wisconsin State Patrol reported that a Fond du Lac man was killed in a storm-related car accident outside of Ripon.
Sunday added that the Ripon City Composting Center will be open all day for bush and storm debris disposal on Thursday and Friday. The rubbish collection in the city planned for Thursday will take place on Friday.
As the city works to tackle the situation, local employers are also affected.
In response to the storm, Alliance Laundry has closed its Ripon facilities. In a Facebook post on Thursday morning, the company announced that Ripon team members in production and the office will not have to go to work.
“The power went out at our Ripon site and we are assessing the damage to our buildings,” said Alliance Laundry. “We’ll provide updates as soon as we learn more.”
Ripon College was also affected by the storm and the subsequent power outage. According to a Facebook post on Thursday, the college is following its “emergency shutdown procedure” asking non-essential staff not to report to campus.
The college was closed for the rest of the day as there was no power around noon by Thursday, a Facebook post said, noting that its facilities department had been working to clean up the campus, which was not being significantly damaged seems to be.
“Our thoughts are with everyone in the ward today,” said Ripon College. “Please go to safety.”
In a Facebook post on Thursday afternoon, State Senator Joan Ballweg praised “local guides and first responders from the region who have worked diligently to ensure the safety of residents”.
For more information on post-storm services, residents are advised to call 211. Individuals must provide their zip code to be connected to an operator who can provide more information on available resources.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.