Cleanup underway from tornado, storms near Wausau

CREATED May 24, 2012 - UPDATED: May 25, 2012

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  • Courtesy of WIFC-FM morning show host Dave Kallaway Image by Courtesy of WIFC-FM morning show host Dave Kallaway

WAUSAU - The cleanup has already started in Wisconsin from storms that packed heavy rain, high wind and even a tornado.

The damaging storms moved through western, central and northern Wisconsin, uprooting huge trees and knocking down power lines.

Weather officials have confirmed a tornado touched down about two miles south of Marathon City in Marathon County, and was on the ground intermittently for about five minutes.

Meteorologist Rusty Kapela with National Weather Service confirmed to Newsradio 620 WTMJ that this was the first confirmed tornado of 2012.

Kapela said from Chippewa Falls to Eau Claire there were numerous reports of trees that were knocked over, with some of them falling on homes.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or major structural damage.

Jeff Last is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. He says that at about 7 p.m. Thursday, a Wisconsin State Patrol officer saw the tornado touch down. It was on the ground off and on for several miles as it moved northeast.

Last says the tornado lifted off the ground about two miles northwest of Rib Mountain State Park.

He says the storm was fast-moving.

Streamline winds also downed trees as storms moved across the state.

Wisconsin Emergency Management says some streets were closed in Eau Claire Thursday because of the downed power lines and trees. The strong winds toppled a radio station tower, knocking several stations off the air.

Utility crews worked to restore power to thousands of customers who lost service in the storm.