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Toppled trees wreck businesses, cars as storm blasts through Grant Co.

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PLATTEVILLE (WKOW) -- Rob Udelhofen drove around the golf course Monday and surveyed damage on just about every hole. Udenhofen, the superintendent at Platteville Golf & Country Club, estimated the damage will keep the course closed for about a week.

"It's amazing," Udenhofen said. "We've probably lost up to 30 trees and limbs from every other tree so it'll be a lot of work."

Within a five-minute drive of the course, residential streets were lined with uprooted trees and far-flung branches. Neighbors cut up the toppled trunks with chainsaws. Police and fire vehicles monitored for damage while Alliant Energy crews worked to reconnect downed power lines.

One such line was on West Madison Street. A large tree was split at the middle; the fallen half took out a power line before resting up against another tree. The derecho-driven winds sheared the top of the tree off entirely. That chunk of trunk fell through Ajay Suchomel's car.

"This is probably the craziest thing that's ever happened (to me,) easy," Suchomel said.

Suchomel lives with three other guys; he was home with two of them when the storm hit. Suchomel said they were in the garage watching the storm roll in before realizing its strength and heading further into the house.

"As soon as we shut the door, a huge bang," Suchomel said. "We had walked back in the house and came back out a couple minutes later and opened everything, just saw the carnage."

Heavy rains that accompanied the winds caused part of the ceiling to collapse at Jeff's Mini-Mart. Workers mopped up the water but noted the real threat was the lack of electricity. Without power, the gas station pumps would not operate and the food shelved inside freezers and refrigerators will be a total loss.

Others, though, said their lasting memory of Monday's storm will be the wind.

"I told my husband, who was watching the storm, I said, 'we gotta get going. We gotta get in the basement,'" Diane Buglass said.

Buglass said she's lived in Wisconsin for most of her life but had never taken shelter from a storm until Monday.

"It was the sound of it and the way the wind was blowing, terrible," Buglass said.

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A. J. Bayatpour

Reporter, WKOW 27

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