Record high temperatures experienced across Wisconsin
The Fourth of July was the fourth-hottest day in history in both Milwaukee and Madison. Both cities had highs of 102, the first time in 17 years that the mercury hit triple-digits in both places.
Milwaukee and Madison both had average temperatures for the day of 91.5, the fourth-highest readings ever for both of Wisconsin's largest cities.
Wisconsin Rapids also had 102, and all three cities set new record highs for July 4 - as did Wausau, Eau Claire, Marshfield and Stevens Point.
It was even hotter with the humidity. The state's hottest heat-index on July 4 was 115 at Tamarack in Trempealeau County.
Thunderstorms were expected in the far north Wednesday night as a cold front moved in. Part of northwest Wisconsin was under a tornado watch until 3 a.m. Thursday.
Fence in Florence County had one-inch hail early Wednesday evening, and Presque Isle in Vilas County had 50-mph winds.
Expect more record-setting heat Thursday, with highs of up to 105 in southern Wisconsin and the 90s in the north with only a slight chance of rain.
Relief is expected Friday in the north with highs there in the 70s and 80s, but more triple-digits in the south. An excessive heat warning remains in effect until 10 p.m. Friday for southern and western Wisconsin.
More fireworks shows held
Most Wisconsinites were able to enjoy Fourth of July fireworks shows, even though some places canceled their events due to hot and dry weather.
Shows in Oak Creek and Waukesha ended early after they started grass fires.
Delavan, Elm Grove and Shorewood were among the communities which called off their fireworks shows.
In the Milwaukee suburb of Cudahy, two men were hurt while taking part in a holiday parade. Police said a VFW veteran might have suffered a heat stroke and lost consciousness before a car he was driving hit a flag bearer in front of him.
Cudahy firefighters who were marching in the parade immediately tried to help the two. They were taken to a hospital. Their conditions were not immediately known.
Meanwhile, several more Wisconsin highways were temporarily closed on the Fourth after the heat buckled the pavement. Lanes were closed on Interstate 94 near Johnson Creek, I-39 near Portage, Highway 12 near Madison and Highway 33 in Dodge County.
On Tuesday, lanes were shut down due to pavement buckling in Lincoln, Chippewa, Dane and Columbia counties.
Northwest escapes severe weather
Northwest Wisconsin was under a tornado watch Wednesday night, but the region escaped the severe weather that hit neighboring Minnesota.
Trees and power lines fell after midnight in central parts of the Gopher State as winds gusted to nearly 60 mph.
The National Weather Service said storms went through far northwest, northeast and east central Wisconsin. The Weather Service reported no damage.
The Wisconsin Public Service utility said almost 2,400 electric customers were without power as of 7:45 a.m. Thursday.
About 1,000 of those customers were in Eagle River and Minocqua, while around 1,400 customers were out in the Stevens Point area as the region's heat wave continues.
Forecasters expect more record heat Thursday. Parts of northern Wisconsin remain under a heat advisory until 10 p.m. An excessive heat warning continues until 10 p.m. Friday for much of western, central and southern Wisconsin.
Highs in those places could hit 106 today, with the north getting back into the 90's. Relief is expected during the weekend.