High winds and heavy rains hammered southeastern Wisconsin today, ripping a hole in the roof of the Case IH plant in Racine.
The winds, possibly in a tornado blew off a 100-foot by 200-foot section of the company’s roof from the combined manufacturing factory on Washington Avenue in Racine.
"It was pretty scary," a Case employee told AM-620 WTMJ. "We were sitting there. We heard the rumbling. (Factory officials) said, ‘Get to the middle of the plant,’ and that’s what we did. We were actually by the administrative offices, and it was a matter of maybe a couple minutes.”
She said the Case employees were told to go home after the storm hit the building.
Case spokesman Duane Nelson said two employees were injured by the storm and taken to a local hospital. He said the injuries were not believed to be serious.
The storm also destroyed several garage doors and access doors, and a semi-tractor trailer was overturned at the plant. The factory also sustained significant water damage from the driving rains, Nelson said. In addition, several vehicles owned by Case employees also were damaged, Nelson said.
The company has stopped production at the Racine plant until further notice, Nelson said.
The damage to properties was extensive along Highway 11 in Racine.
Trees and power lines were down throughout the region, causing several thousands of customers to be without power this morning, according to We Energies.
The wind caused more than 300 flights to be cancelled from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport this morning, but there were no flight cancellations at Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport.