Storms topple trees, damage structures in Sauk City

Portions of Sauk City Riverwalk trail are closed
Storms topple trees, damage structures in Sauk City

Strong thunderstorms swept through southern Wisconsin quickly Wednesday night, flooding roads and bringing down trees and power lines.

In the village of Sauk City, crews were working Thursday to clear downed trees from village streets and public sidewalks. They will continue to focus on trees that are located along public streets and power lines until those areas are cleared, the Sauk Prairie Police Department said.

Sauk Prairie Police Chief Jerry Strunz said about 13 blocks were hit hard by the storm, including Free Thinkers Park and the Sauk City Riverwalk trail.

The Ace Sauk Prairie Hardware store at 500 Water St. in Sauk City sustained damage to the building and garden center. Strong winds damaged the greenhouse, ripped siding off the building and blew a 1,000-pound air conditioner off the roof.

“Once they’re done cleaning up that area, they’ll move their attention to this trail,” Strunz said.

Portions of the Sauk City Riverwalk trail just to the northeast of the Ace Sauk Prairie Hardware store have been closed due to unsafe conditions caused by numerous large trees that were damaged or completely uprooted by the storms, police said.

“There are some trees suspended up in other trees, and if we get significant wind, those could potentially fall,” Strunz said.

Police said the portion of the trail that is closed is considered unsafe for pedestrian or bicycle traffic. Strunz said portions of the trail will remain closed until further notice.

The police chief said the damage was the result of straight-line winds, not a tornado.

Chris Matthews, the groundskeeper at Free Thinkers Park, said the storm damaged or destroyed numerous large oak trees that were about 150 years old. Tree limbs scattered the park property Thursday, with some falling on the gazebo and a nearby church roof.  

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“We haven’t had any complete trees fall, but we’ve had about 20 trees affected,” Matthews said. “We needed the rain, but unfortunately, it came all at once.”

The Sauk Prairie Police Department said it received reports of two people who were treated for minor injuries and released from the Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital as a result of the storm.

A boy was hurt when wind blew over the trampoline he was on. A woman running for cover tripped and was hurt in the Ace Hardware parking lot.  

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