Preparing for Expected Worst Wind Storm in 12 Years

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MILWAUKEE - The last time Southeastern Wisconsin saw winds like we are expecting for Tuesday and Wednesday was back in November of 1998.  People all over our area are preparing for possible damage.

It's the busiest week of the year at Halloween Express at State Fair Park.  But the dangerous wind gusts could cause major problems at the giant pumpkin. 

"About two today we started trying to prepare," Halloween Express manager Shannon Tracy said.

Last time we got a big wind storm, the pumpkin crashed to the ground, and cost the company an estimated $100,000 in lost business and lost products.  So to prepare for this expected storm, Halloween Express employees parked semi trailers around the pumpkin to block the wind. 

"The trailers do ride up high enough that the wind that does make it up over the trailers is pretty much going to crest over the top of the pumpkin," Tracy said.

They're even using forklifts and some plywood to make sure none of the wind gets underneath the trailers.

"We just want to make sure the pumpkin stays open, stays upright," Tracy said.

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Also no stranger to wind damage?  Residents near 47th and Wright on Milwaukee's north side.

"You could not get through this street," resident William Thorn said. 

Thorn watched as the 1998 wind storm knocked over trees, destroyed cars, and damaged homes on his street.

"It was very, very serious," Thorn said of the storm.

So he's not taking any chances with this expected storm.

"I made sure the insurance was in effect," he said.

And after watching 60 mile an hour winds uproot neighbors' trees twelve years ago, Thorn makes sure his giant maple is regularly pruned.

"Especially because we just had this re-roofed, I'm not anxious to see branches come down on it," Thorn said.