Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes tore their way through Wisconsin on Sunday. Businesses all over the state shut down as owners begin to assess the damage wrought by the unruly weather system. The state’s insurance companies are beginning to field claims from both business and home owners as they prepare for what has been a particularly devastating storm. The storm is expected to have a considerable impact on hundreds of jobs all over the state as several manufacturing companies temporarily close their doors to recover.
Six businesses in the Merrill area were damaged, if not altogether demolished, by a tornado that swept through the area. Jack Sroka, executive director of the Lincoln County Economic Development Group, says that he has never seen such widespread destruction before. He has gone so far as to reach out to colleagues via the Internet, asking for advice from those that have weathered similar circumstances. As it stands, one business has put 450 jobs on temporary suspension due to the storms, with more expected to follow suit.
Local insurers are finding it difficult to keep up with the number of claims being filed and are reaching out for help. Such is the case with Church Mutual Insurance Co., one of the largest property insurers in Merrill. “We’re bringing in teams from Twin Cities to work with our own adjusters so we can keep up with our customers,” says Patrick Moreland, vice president of marketing for the company.
Auto dealers have been struck a blow as well as hail accompanied the storms. Hundreds of vehicles have been damaged, prompting several dealerships to close until they can sort out the situation.