The American Red Cross is opening a shelter in New London, following the storm that went through the area early Wednesday morning knocking out power from Weyauwega to the Fox Cities.
The shelter will be located at Parkview Elementary School, 1300 Werner Allen Road.
According to the National Weather Service office in Green Bay, the storm had gusts up to 80 mph in Outagamie County.
Downed trees and power lines were reported throughout the area.
In New London, the damage was most severe.
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church was demolished in the storm.
“WE Energies is saying, ‘Plan for multiple days,'” Andy Carlin, Waupaca County’s emergency management director said. “Some places in Weyauwega are getting power back now.”
Carlin and Eric Halverson, the county’s deputy director, were in the village of Fremont around 10:30 a.m. after surveying damage in the Weyauwega area.
By then, they had seen numerous tree limbs and power lines down.
When asked approximately how many people are without power in the county, Carlin described the numbers as “rough” and said, “A lot.”
“WE Energies is still out doing damage assessment,” he said.
According to WE Energies website, more than 50,000 were affected by outages due to the storm. As of noon, 9,200 had their power returned.
Carlin said the damage he and Halverson have seen thus far is “consistent with straight line winds.”
He said the National Weather Service measured 46 mph winds in Waupaca.
The county’s emergency management team said straight line winds can be just as fast as a tornado.
“With tornadoes, you’re looking for twisting, debris spread out,” Carlin said. “Straight line winds blow it out.”
In addition to opening a shelter, Carlin said Waupaca County is also partnering with Outagamie County to open a 211 line.
People will be able to call that number to get information about such things as shelters, food safety and water.
People may also go to http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/eh/DisasterHealthSafety/outage.htm for information about food safety .
For photos of the storm damage, see the photo gallery near the bottom of the WaupacaNow homepage.
Watch for future updates online and in next week’s County Post.