Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Wind storm damages shoreline areas of Como
Crews continue to clear debris this week after Saturday’s heavy weather

by Steve Targo

July 28, 2011

Lake Como — High-velocity winds early Saturday morning turned the shoreline areas into a jagged landscape of uprooted trees, downed power lines and even some crushed shingles and house corners.

Roads were blocked, electrical power was gone for most of the day and the Mars Resort pier was destroyed, which cancelled a performance scheduled later Saturday by Tony Ocean.

But on Monday, Elaine Hebel, who lives near Mars Resort, said the storm came on strong, sounding like a freight train.

“They claim it was a 20-minute microburst that came through,” Hebel said during a telephone interview. “We were in bed. It was about 2 or 2:30 (and) we jumped out of bed. By the time we could see outside through the kitchen window, I could see in the lightning flash the tree coming down and landing on our deck.”

After it was over, the Hebels discovered they needed siding and deck repair. Two trees were knocked down.

“One was lifted out of the ground, the one that’s laying now on the deck,” she said.

Hebel said she feels fortunate because her family and no one else she knows of was injured.

But she said the amount of damage in her neighborhood is “just unbelievable.”

“I can’t believe it was just a microburst,” Hebel said.

Margaret Downing, another south shore Lake Como resident, stated in an e-mail Monday no one was sure what it was that ripped their neighborhood apart.

“We all feel so fortunate that although there was quite a bit of damage, no one was hurt,” Downing stated.

In a separate e-mail Monday, Debbie Bromeland, a Lake Como subdivision resident, gave a brief damage report.

“Damage was done to both sides of the lake,” she stated. “I heard Mars lost their pier totally. Also, the damage went up into the subdivision two or three blocks.”

On Monday, Randy Parker, the town of Geneva highway superintendent, said he was aware of six homes which sustained damage due to the wind storm. But the majority of the damage was to the trees along both shores of Lake Como.

He said his department and an outside contractor continue to clear debris from the wind storm. Parker has worked for the Highway Department more than 17 years.

“Since I’ve been here, I haven’t seen a storm quite this bad and so many of them consecutively,” he said.

Four recent storms have caused enough damage it required the Town Highway Department to pick up fallen trees and other debris.

“We were just finishing up getting everything cleared from the storm last Monday (July 18) when this happened,” Parker said.

He said on Saturday, he and three full-time Highway Department members went out at around 3 a.m.

“It was all over by the time we got out,” he said. “We spent all day clearing roads, 14 hours.”

Still working

Parker estimated around 50 trees needed to be removed from roads along the north and south shores of Lake Como. He said seven Highway Department members were still working on it Monday, and the town hired B&J Landscaping to help.

“We’ll still be out there clearing for the next couple days,” Parker said.

He thanked Alliant Energy for responding quickly to the situation and restoring power fast, considering the damage. Parker said both shores had electrical power back by early evening Saturday.

He said there was one thing after the storm rocked the shores of Lake Como he was happy to witness.

“Everybody worked together to help clean up,” Parker said. “The (Lake) Como (Property Owners) Association was out cleaning up their lakeshore. Everybody pitched in and helped everybody. Everybody who had a chainsaw was out working on it.”

But once again, the possibility of stormy weather lingers in the forecast for the remainder of the week.

Parker said his department will simply do what it always does. He said people usually call the Town Police Department, they call his department and they go to work.

“With a storm like this, we’re usually out there before anybody knows it happened,” Parker said. “A storm like this one, early in the morning, most people are still in bed.”