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Relief efforts are underway in southern Wisconsin after a weekend of tornadoes and heavy rains

At least 338 Janesville homes sustained damage from one EF-2 tornado, and Prairie du Chien is responding to high water levels

Janesville city manager Kevin Lahner works with city operations crews cleaning tree damage from the tornado in June 2024. Photo couretsy of the city of Janesville, Wisconsin

Communities across southern Wisconsin are cleaning up after severe storms hit much of the state over the weekend.

Janesville faces significant damage from the EF-2 tornado it endured Saturday night. Kevin Lahner, city manager for Janesville, told WPR’s “Wisconsin Today” that at least 338 homes were damaged and about six homes were “completely destroyed.”

“Literally the top half of (some) houses have been taken off,” Lahner said. “We were very fortunate not to have injuries or fatalities as a result of the storm.”

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Lahner said Janesville’s public works crews are working extra long shifts to re-open the roads and clean the “significant” tree damage across the city.

About 130 miles west of Janesville, people in Prairie du Chien are working to mitigate an ongoing flood warning.

City administrator Chad Abram told WPR’s “Wisconsin Today” that the city still had six pallets of sandbags left over from last spring’s heavy rains. The Mississippi is flowing at a lower level than after last year’s flood, but more sandbags are being made to ensure everyone who needs them can get them at no cost.

“We deliver the sand to the (Wisconsin Department of Corrections) prison and the inmates fill all the sandbags, place them on pallets, and then we go get them and bring them to the street department,” Abram said. “Last year…we couldn’t keep up.”

Janesville is still accepting volunteer help to remove debris across the city. Lahner said Janesville residents can call 211 if they are in need of assistance or want to report damage. 

“We are picking up (trees) and bringing them to our compost center. We also have our compost center (and landfill) open for free to those impacted by this storm,” Lahner said. More information can be accessed on Janesville’s website

Prairie du Chien residents can access sandbag pickup and other storm related information on the city’s website or by calling 608-326-0266.