Heavy snow causes partial roof collapse at Kmart in Eau Claire

NORTHWEST WISCONSIN (WITI) -- Heavy snow and strong winds led to a partial roof collapse at the Kmart on East Clairemont Avenue in Eau Claire. Officials believe the weight of snow on the flat roof was the cause of the collapse.

No one was hurt.

Heavy snow and strong winds continue to sweep across the state Friday morning, February 21st. Northwest Wisconsin is getting the brunt of the snow with 10 inches so far in Superior, 8 inches in Seeley and 7 inches in Menomonie.

A Winter Storm Warning continues through noon Friday with 10-15 inches expected in that part of the state and wind gusts of 35 mph creating near white-out conditions.

In the south, light snow will fall overnight with winds of 25 to 35 mph gusting to 50 mph sparking a High Wind Warning. Officials report those winds knocked down trees in Washington and Racine Counties.

Travel – The Department of Transportation reports snow covered roads are creating hazardous travel conditions in northwest and northern Wisconsin. Travel is not advised on Highway 8 between Tripoli and Hawkins, Highway 13 between Westboro and Park Falls, and Highway 51 between Manitowish Waters and Hurley. The State Patrol has responded to multiple crashes and runoffs in the Eau Claire area but no major accidents or injuries are reported. Blowing snow will continue to make driving dangerous in the northwest. Avoid travel Friday morning if possible in that area.

Power Outages - The major electric utilities serving Wisconsin report more than 4000 customers without power. Many are located in the Milwaukee area.

Wisconsin National Guard – The Wisconsin State Patrol requested Wisconsin National Guard members to check Rest Areas along Hwy 53 from Eau Claire to Rice Lake for any stranded motorists. 10 Winter Support Force Packages consisting of approximately 140 Guard members and equipment in seven-person teams are pre-positioned across the state to assist local law enforcement agencies, performing such emergency response duties as helping stranded motorists and performing welfare checks in affected areas. They will provide 24-hour coverage in 12-hour shifts in Black River Falls, Eau Claire, Hayward, Madison, Mauston, Sparta, Spooner and Sussex.

The State Emergency Operations Center remains at level 3 with representatives from the Wisconsin Emergency Management, the Department of Transportation, State Patrol, the Department of Natural Resources and the Wisconsin National Guard monitoring the situation.