Gov. Walker tours La Crosse storm damage

Storms knocked down trees, power lines


Governor Scott Walker, Major General Don Dunbar and Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Brian Satula toured storm damage in La Crosse Monday afternoon.

More than 7,000 Xcel Energy customers were without power late Saturday night into Sunday morning due to storms that knocked trees on powerlines.

“Since summer storms change so rapidly, it is crucial for residents to be prepared and aware of impending weather,” Governor Walker said.  “Thank you to all of the emergency responders and local officials who worked diligently to assess damage and help with cleanup.  I hope residents around the state take this opportunity to sign up for emergency alerts through Ready Wisconsin – being well-prepared is the best defense when disaster or severe weather strikes.”

According to the National Weather Service, two lines of storms converged on the western Wisconsin city Saturday evening. Wind gusts ranging from 30 miles per hour to 60 miles per hour downed power lines and trees.

The day’s tour “Started out actually near the airport, looking at some commercial damage that was done there,” said Walker. An industrial park by the airport sustained noticeable damage including siding and roof damage.

Next, Walker saw an apartment where bricks fell off the wall and landed on a car.

And last, but not least, residential homes. Walker met with Ida Luhman, who has lived in a house on Gould Street in La Crosse for more than 12 years.

“I remember the tree when my youngest kids lived here,” said Luhman.

But on Saturday, the tree that provided so much shade for her children came down.

“It just happened real fast,” said Luhman. “After dinner we heard a crack, it sounded like just a crack. He (Luhman’s husband) came out on the deck, he came back in and he goes,’it wasn’t a tree limb honey, it was the tree.'”

Fortunately, no one was hurt, but Luhman’s husband’s Jaguar was crushed.

“That’s his baby, that’s our Sunday drive,” said Luhman.

But that is where Walker said the state will step in — through the insurance commissioner’s office.

“Our insurance commissioner works with sites like this to make sure that insurance policies are followed through with what people have as part of their plans. Most plans will take care of the damage that we see behind us,” said Walker.

Luhman knows her husband’s car can be replaced, but she hopes Walker makes sure insurance companies follow through sooner rather than later.

“Part of it is to make sure that happens and on a timely basis,” said Walker.

Walker will be touring Dane, Grant and Iowa counties Tuesday morning to survey the damage left over from a storm and tornado Sunday night. However, he will continue to monitor the Mississippi River levels as the threat of flooding in the area continues to rise.