Storm damage is limited in Merrill, worse southwest of our readership area

A power pole on Sales St. in Merrill near the Bierman Building/Merrill Enrichment Center was snapped off in two places in the storm. Of note, the pole snapped off in two different directions. Just prior to the storm, clouds overhead were traveling in multiple directions, in contrast to the direction from which the storms were coming. Joseph Frederick photo.


The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for Marathon County at approximately 8 p.m. on Tuesday evening, May 21, 2024, soon followed by a tornado warning to include Lincoln County. Heavy thunderstorms with high winds and heavy rain rolled across the state, producing strong straight line winds and some damage across our area. Damage in Merrill and the surrounding area was primarily limited to uprooted and snapped off trees, telephone poles, and signs. Many area residents lost power, with significant power outages in Merrill’s Sixth Ward and other spotty areas of the city and surrounding area, including in the town of Pine River, both east and west of Merrill, and in the Gleason and Irma areas reported.
According to Wisconsin Public Service, “Tuesday evening’s storms caused power outages that affected approximately 2,400 customers in the Merrill area.”
About half of those affected had power restored by Wednesday afternoon, with the remaining customers getting power restored on Thursday.
St. John Lutheran School was still without power early both Wednesday and Thursday mornings and had to cancel classes for both days, rescheduling their final day of school to Friday, May 23.
An EF-1 tornado was confirmed just outside of our readership area, northwest of Edgar, where the damage was more severe. Wind speeds of up to 90 miles per hour were reported. The tornado touched down along Wuertzburg Rd., northwest of Edgar, and traveled northeast, lifting about a mile northwest of Poniatowski. The tornado left behind a wake of destruction, including at least one collapsed barn (most of the cattle were able to be rescued by the immediate efforts of family and neighbors with machinery and equipment), destroyed silos and sheds and outbuildings, and both snapped off and uprooted trees along the tornado’s path. Power outages also affected this area.
The tornado near Edgar was one of five tornadoes reported in the state Tuesday night.

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