7/18/11 – An excessive heat warning continues through Wednesday in northwest Wisconsin, and until Thursday night in much of the rest of the state. The heat index – the combination of temperature and humidity – hit its highest levels in years in parts of the Badger State yesterday. The National Weather Service said the misery index got up to 119 at Onalaska near La Crosse. Actual temperatures will be in the 90’s throughout Wisconsin for the second straight day with only a slight chance of thunderstorms. The Weather Service warns that anyone without air conditioning, or spending time outdoors will be at risk today – and the young, the elderly, and pets are most vulnerable. Weather officials encourage people to drink lots of fluids, stay out of the sun, and check up on neighbors and relatives.
Meanwhile, thousands of people in northern and southeast Wisconsin will be sweating while cleaning up storm damage. The far north was the hardest hit early last evening, from Bayfield to Peshtigo. There were no immediate reports of deaths or serious injuries. Some campers were stranded on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage in Iron County, as their canoes and water-craft were blown away. Lightning damaged two houses on the Upper Eau Claire Lake in Bayfield County. Barron County in northwest Wisconsin had up to four-and-a-half inches of rain. And there were predictions of up to seven-inches in Vilas County – although the National Weather Service did not give any immediate rain totals for the far north. Trees fell at scattered locations throughout the northern half of Wisconsin, and as far as south as Fond du Lac County late last night. Winds hit up to 70-miles-an-hour at Park Falls. A tree fell on a power line and started a fire in Kewaunee County. Roads were said to be blocked in a number of places in the north, and the Wisconsin Public Service utility said up to 25-thousand electric customers were without power at the height of the storm in north central Wisconsin.