A winter storm dumped 7 inches of wet, heavy snow on central Wisconsin, leaving thousands of people without electricity and disrupting holiday preparations.

Wisconsin Public Service Corp. reported fewer than 15,600 customers without electricity Saturday night. About half of the outages were in the towns of Wausau and Stevens Point.

"For the little ones that are making snowmen it is awesome," said Kelly Zagrzebski, a spokeswoman for the utility. "For us, no."

The snow began falling Friday night and did not let up until Saturday morning. The weight of the snow snapped power lines and tree limbs, causing the outages, she said. Nearly 30,000 customers initially had service interrupted.

More than 100 crews were working to restore power, a job that would likely continue through Sunday, Zagrzebski said.

"People are expecting family ... and want to know if their power is going to be restored," Zagrzebski said. "It's just a hard question right now."

Temperatures in the region were expected to drop to the teens and 20s overnight and partly cloudy skies were forecast for Sunday.

Bob Warnke, 61, of Stevens Point, said he is giving up plans to visit relatives 30 miles away in Wausau to stay at his bar.

"It kind of aborted my Christmas holiday because I'm not going up to see them, he said.

He chose instead to watch over his building and customers at the Trackside Bar, some of whom are elderly, he said.

"They're out of power, also, and they're quite uncomfortable," Warnke said.