High winds that swept through the area Monday morning caused power outages that knocked out electricity to more 5,000 homes and businesses in Wauwatosa.
By 11:30 a.m., power had been restored to all but 600 users, We Energies spokesman Brian Manthey said.
A crew working behind an apartment complex at North 84th Street and West North Avenue restored power to those customers shortly after noon.
The biggest outage of the morning was centered around Wauwatosa Avenue (North 76th Street) and North Avenue, where an estimated 4,400 customers were without power.
Manthey said the numerous localized power failures were due to the high winds and tree contact with power lines, and that crews were out throughout the city and working to resolve the problems.
Tree City headaches
The power loss around 84th and North was caused by tree branch breaking and taking out an overhead line.
A We Energies supervisor at the site said that the breakage was inevitable: a homeowner on Jackson Park Boulevard had let a silver maple grow up near the back fence and far too close to the lines.
"People love their trees, but that's nothing but a big, glorified, overgrown box elder," he said, naming another tree species low on any power lineman's list of favorites.
"We can trim and trim and trim and it'll just keep coming back – and coming down," he said. "Another six or seven windstorms and this one will finally go down for good. I think it'll split right down the middle."
Silver maples were often planted after the loss of the city's elms to blight, because they grow fast, grow tall and resemble elms in form. But they are weak-limbed and are frequent culprits in power failures, not to mention home and property damage.
Asst. Fire Chief Bill Rice was in agreement.
"Every time there's a stiff wind in Wauwatosa, the power goes out," he said, "because we've got so many trees and so many overhead power lines."
The fielded only one call for service because of the storm and power failures – for an elevator entrapment. Fire Station No. 1 was itself without power from about 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.