Winter Weather Awareness Week brings Blizzard Evelyn flashbacks

Blizzard Evelyn leaves drifts in Green Bay (Photo submitted byTory Hine)

(WLUK) -- It's Winter Weather Awareness Week, and some are using the week to look back at the widespread damage caused by the most snow in one storm in northeast Wisconsin since the late 1800s.

It was only only six months ago.

Blizzard Evelyn was a storm that weighed heavily on Northeast Wisconsin.

Feet of snow piled up and drifted on area rooftops.

Not only was it very slushy at the beginning with plenty of sleet, but it also ended up being a very wet heavy snow.

Farther south in the Fox Valley, the story was the same.

Beaming Incorporated, a horse therapy center north of Oshkosh, had a partial collapse of their arena.

One of their trusses gave way.

But thanks to an outpouring of help, the arena was back up in just 15 days.

Director Katie Samuelson says in some ways, it was a blessing in disguise.

"I think the tragedy that happened with the building collapsing made the public more aware of everything that we do here for the community, all the great things that happen here with all the horses and their equine partners and the therapeutic riding value," Samuelson said.

And in the days after the storm, a foal was born at Beaming.

Her name? What else, but Evelyn.

Near Black Creek in Outagamie County, the decades-old dairy farm Birlings Bovines suffered more than a half million dollars in damage.

Repairs weren't finished until June.

But they couldn't just stop operations.

"We have two loads of milk that gotta go out every day, so we moved all of them out, pushed them into pens that were way overcrowded which was a little bit of extra stress on those animals but it was better than leaving them there and taking a chance on something falling on them," said Mike Birling. Birling is the senior operations member of the dairy farm.

In other instances, though, there would be no repairs made.

The Fox River Cleanup Project facility in Green Bay had offices attached to their main work building.

That changed after the roof collapsed over that part of the building.

"As a result they brought in trailers to house some of the staff, and some off site office space is being utilized as well. There's no doubt it has caused some inconvenience, but everybody has pulled together," Scott Stein, Fox River Cleanup Project Spokesperson, explained.

Thankfully the main facility was undamaged, so the river cleanup has carried on uninterrupted.

But what was it about Blizzard Evelyn that made it so destructive?

Amison White is a Berners and Schober Chief Structural Engineer, and he says from an engineering perspective, some structures don't account for Blizzard Evelyn-type weather.

"Those codes are all based on past performance and and statistics and everything that they have, and they've changed over the years. But again, they're always looking for what's pretty much normal," he said.

And Blizzard Evelyn was anything but normal.

Some businesses still haven't recovered from the record-setting storm.

The Ashwaubenon EconoLodge is still closed following a roof collapse, with no word on when they plan to re-open.

More than 6 months after Evelyn melted into the past, the effects linger on.


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