MILWAUKEE - Severe weather caused a huge mess across southeastern Wisconsin in August, taking down trees and powerlines.
That mess was cleaned up for most but not all. For one Milwaukee family, the damage is still causing major problems.
A massive weeping willow tree fell on top of and in the yard of a home near 13th and Burleigh. It also hit two natural gas meters. The family that lives there now desperately needs help.
"I thank God every day that he spared our life," said homeowner Lutisha Kates. "It damaged the roofing, the siding, the light, all of the gutters are off.
"I opened up the door and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I couldn’t believe it."
It has been like that since August when a lightning strike split the tree three ways. It fell into the yard, pierced the roof and took down two porches – in addition to destroying the natural gas meters.
Porch collapsed in front of Kates family home after August's severe storms.
The gas had to be shut off, and for more than a month, the Kates family has been living without it.
"No hot water, no heat. We cannot use the oven, cannot use the dryer," Kates said.
The meters cannot be repaired until all of the debris is moved. A We Energies spokesperson said the damage is so severe that one of the meters has to be rebuilt.
"Unfortunately, we are unable to safely make the necessary repairs to their natural gas equipment until the debris gets removed from the scene," said Alison Trouy with We Energies.
The Kates family is responsible for moving the tree and porch, which could cost upward of $4,000 – money they don't have.
Damage outside Kates family home after August's severe storms.
A family, devastated by mother nature, is now looking for divine intervention.
"We just want to live a normal life," said Kates. "I pray and ask God for his guidance and a miracle to happen."
We Energies said once that tree is removed, it will only take a few hours to rebuild the meters. For anyone willing to help, Kates has a P.O. box where donations can be sent:
P.O. Box 76515
Milwaukee, WI 53216