Monday night's violent thunder storms knocked power out at the West Allis Public Library on one of its busiest nights and darkened traffic signals and street lights in both West Allis and Greenfield.
Between 50 and 75 patrons were in the library when it went dark about 6:15 p.m., Michael Koszalka, library director, estimated. There was still some dim light from utility lights, lights on the library's fire alarms and natural light. However, the library lights would eventually run out of power and go dark.
While patrons were already drifting toward the driving rain in the library parking lot, library officials waited 10 minutes to see if the lights would come back on.
When they couldn't get through to We Energies to get some idea how long it might take to get power back, officials decided to close early.
"At 6:45 we called it," Koszalka said.
Power at the library would not be restored for seven hours, judging by the electric clocks that had stopped, he said.
Closing is something the library almost never does, he said. The last time was in February 2012 during a huge snowstorm that kept not only patrons but staff struggling to get out, he said.
It closed early another time in the 1990s when there was a gas leak out front, Koszalka said.
On Monday night, all was orderly inside the library, he said.
"People understood the situation," Koszalka said. "Our patrons are very resilient."
A Common Council committee meeting that was to be held in the library had to be moved to City Hall because it had power.
Koszalka drove past the library at 9:30 p.m., and it was completely dark, something that never happens.
"We always keep some permanent lighting on to police can look into the building," he said.
Outside, the storm was knocking out power on the west end of Greenfield along with traffic signals and street lights, said Assistant Police Chief Paul Schlecht. Even traffic lights on busy Highway 100 went out and city crews were dispatched to put up stop signs, he said.
West Allis had all similar troubles with traffic and street lights out and 12 trees going down.
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- West Allis-West Milwaukee taps Shorewood superintendent for top spot
- Students, parents say response to overcrowding at Nathan Hale is unfair
- Glendale mayoral candidates will debate city issues tonight
- Decision delayed on Nathan Hale High School overcrowding
- West Allis police report: March 26, 2015 issue
- Greenfield police report: March 26, 2015 issue
- Greenfield police report: March 19, 2015 issue
- West Allis students star in webcast on educational use of technology streamed to D.C. event
- West Allis school board to hold special meeting to OK superintendent
- Greenfield High School assistant principal going to Arrowhead