We Energies 'wake low' power outages, 75K customers restored

A "wake low" producing strong wind knocked out power to more than 75,000 We Energies customers early Sunday, June 25.

According to the FOX6 Weather Experts, a "wake low" develops when conditions are just right in the wake of a steady rain like we saw Saturday night. A change in air pressure causes the strong wind, leading to power outages.

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Brendan Conway, We Energies spokesman, shared photos of some of the damage and said as of 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, power had been restored to more than 75,000 customers with crews from across the state, including specialized electric and forestry crews, working on restoration efforts.

He said crews came across damaged equipment from falling trees and tree limbs knocking down power lines and hitting equipment.

We Energies 'wake low' power outages

He shared the pictures in the below photo gallery from Glendale as an example of what crews were encountering. The pictures show a tree snapped and took down a power pole, and "this requires numerous crews multiple hours to clear the tree, replace the pole and restring the power line."

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Glendale power outages, pole replacement

FOX6 found damage in Glendale, Milwaukee and Brookfield.

"We heard something go boom," said Latina Campbell in Milwaukee. "Then we heard something go zzzzz, and then the lights was off."

Some didn't hear it. 

"My dog did bark, but she barks when she hears a bird go by, so I didn’t think too much of it," said Ralph Rinehart in Glendale. 

FOX6's Estabrook and City Center cameras captured the 3 a.m. rain and power gust. 

Among the damage, FOX6 found a tree that split, and part of it landed on the roof. Another part of a tree did serious damage, with a tree covering a car.

"How am I going to get the tree removed and get my car off, and how am I going to work?" said Suzanne Kohn in Glendale. 

Even as Kohn waited to learn more about the damage to her home and car, she didn't have to worry about her food. She never lost power.

We Energies 'wake low' power outages

"It flickered on and off but never went off, thank goodness," said Kohn.

Fifteen hours later, Campbell's home was still without power.

"I have all dairy products, milk, eggs," said Campbell. "I have ribs because the 4th is coming."

They kept their fridge closed and turned to DoorDash Sunday, while others powered up generators to keep their food fresh.

"For We Energies, please do something," said Campbell. 

Conway with We Energies said crews were working around the clock to restore power.

We Energies 'wake low' power outages

"If you have a very hard-hit area, you can throw a lot of resources, let's say, in one zip code, but this is everywhere, "said Conway. "This is all the way from Kenosha up into the Port Washington area, we’re having outages, from the lakefront all the way through Jefferson County. It's a very widespread area. There’s just pockets of high wind that caused this damage, so it’s extending the outage times more than, obviously, we would like, and we know our customers would like."

He added that We Energies expected more than 95% of customers who lost power would have their power restored or outage assigned by midnight.  The remaining customers — including those in the hardest hit areas of Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties that require special crews — would have power restored by the first part of Monday.

Some worried about getting to work on Monday.

"I’m a sales rep that travels around the Milwaukee area," said Rinehart. "Kind of hard to bike, so if my boss is watching, no. I’ll figure a way."

It's important to report your outage to We Energies. You will then get updates on restoration efforts.

We Energies 'wake low' power outages

We Energies also stresses the need to stay at least 25 feet away from any downed wires.