APPLETON - Storm cleanup in Appleton continued Thursday. City officials say the work will take weeks.
Up to 300 repair crews from We Energies and other utilities are working around the clock to complete repairs from Wednesday morning's storm.
"There is still a lot of work to be done,” said Barry McNulty, We Energies spokesperson.
But the progress is becoming as visible as the damage. As of Thursday afternoon, there were still thousands without power in the Appleton area. Other outages were spread throughout the Fox Valley to the west.
"What our biggest goal is to get 90 percent of the customers that were out, to get 90 percent of them restored by 6 p.m. tomorrow night,” said McNulty.
At the height of the outages Wednesday, 60,000 customers were without power. That included the Festival Foods on Northland. The store had to act quickly to save thousands of dollars of perishable food. It was placed in trailers outside the store. By Thursday morning, the power was back on and so was the push to restock the shelves.
"It's a good morale booster for our team; we've got probably 75-80 team members from other stores and vendors in here. It's kind of like team building, we are just trying to make the best of it,” said Steve Burkhardt, vice president of operations for Festival Foods.
Next door, the lights are back on at the Northland Mall. Outside the damage is still visible.
"We are asking people to stay away from the mall as much as possible because there is still a lot of work yet to be done,” said Angie Walker, Northland Mall manager.
And helping people get that work done are stores like Northside True Value. The store ran out of generators Wednesday night, but stayed open late to help residents in need with other supplies like extension cords, batteries and flashlights. The store is expected more generators for those still in need.
"We still have what two, three, four days that some people are going to be out? So I think what you are going to see happen is a lot of good Samaritans helping each other out,” Lee Vanevenhoven, Northside True Value manager.
Festival Foods said there was some food they could not keep, so they loaded it on a truck and donated it to the St. Joseph Food Program.
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