The heat wave finally broke Saturday — but not before two waves of storms roared through the region, bringing bursts of heavy rain, lightning, flash flooding and winds gusting more than 50 mph, knocking down trees and power lines, and injuring two people in Trempealeau County.
The Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Office said the county fair was evacuated twice due to Saturday’s storms.
Two injuries were reported in the county: One woman in Galesville was cut by flying glass when a window blew in, and a man in the town of Gale was hit by a tree that fell into a camper.
The sheriff’s office said a fatal crash on Friday also may have been due to the weather, but that is still being investigated.Wind damage was reported from Winona County through western Wisconsin. Trees were knocked down by high winds Saturday in Galesville, Rockland and parts of northern La Crosse County, including Champions Riverside Resort. Strong winds also caused damage in northern Trempealeau County.
Several thousand Xcel Energy customers lost power during the storm. On the other side of the state, We Energies said it could be days before power is restored to about 70,000 customers in the Green Bay region.
In Buffalo, Wisconsin, 1.98 inches of rain was reported Saturday. La Crosse received about a half an inch.
Saturday’s rain added to some torrential rain earlier in week — 4 to 6 inches in some areas.
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Rivers and creeks rose rapidly in some areas throughout southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa and western Wisconsin, where the Kickapoo River was at 17.2 feet at Viola on Saturday — more than three feet over flood stage. It was also more than three feet over flood stage in Readstown, where the reading 14.3 feet Saturday.
With temperatures in the 90s punctuated by heavy storms last week, the Coulee Region even had a tornado that briefly touched down in Vernon County just before midnight Thursday, the National Weather Service has confirmed.
The narrow tornado demolished a silo and barn on a farm five miles northeast of Westby along Wang Ridge Road.
The weather service called it an EF0 tornado, which typically has winds in the range of 65 to 85 mph. The twister also damaged trees and crops.
Sunday’s forecast is much less newsworthy — sunny with highs in the mid-80s.