We Energies crews work to restore power during extreme wind

BROOKFIELD (WITI) -- Most people can seek shelter indoors during the extremely windy weather southeastern Wisconsin has been dealing with -- but We Energies crews brave the conditions no matter what.

Since 8 p.m. Thursday, February 20th, more than 9,500 customers have experienced outages. Workers are taking extra precautions to restore power thanks to the furious winds.

"Just get your back into the wind and keep that skin covered as best you can," said Greg Stuckert, who has been working in extreme conditions for 28 years. "It does create an obstacle. A lot of times we are working with extension sticks and what have you."

Stuckert says the windy weather provides a unique learning experience at We Energies training center. Workers climb practice utility poles nearly 50 feet in the air. In a real world setting, crews can expect to be harnessed at that height for more than an hour.

"The wind can be distracting," said Stuckert. "It can take your focus off what you're doing if you're not careful."

High wind shredded a billboard on I-43 near Capitol Dr.

The winds were so powerful Thursday, billboards were shredded off of I-43. A Clear Channel spokesperson says the billboard's frame can sustain winds of up to 100 miles an hour -- the vinyl sign, however, was no match for the latest round of weather.

We Energies says downed power lines and tree branches are also causing problems in the field. Crews are reminding residents not to approach any live wires.