UPDATE: Flooding Causes Evacuations In Wisconsin

UPDATED Monday, September 26, 2010 --- 2:30 p.m.

From Wisconsin Emergency Management:

DATE: September 27, 2010, 2:00 p.m.
TO: Governor Jim Doyle
FROM: Mike Hinman, WEM Administrator
SUBJECT: Situation Report #9 on Severe Weather/Flooding

Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) is currently in Level 4 activation due to the flooding in the State. A Duty Officer and Senior Duty Officer are monitoring the events and responding to inquiries and requests for support from county emergency management departments and state agencies. A State of Emergency remains in effect for Buffalo, Jackson, Columbia, Clark, Trempealeau, Marathon, Portage and Wood Counties.

Below is the latest update:

Columbia County:
Press Release from WI Department of Natural Resources
The situation along the century-old Caledonia-Lewiston Levee has deteriorated overnight. There are numerous boils – water bubbling though the levee itself -- and seepage under the toe of the 14-mile-long levee. Of particular concern is a boil in the Blackhawk area located south and east of State Highway 33. Despite taking precautionary measures, including building what is called a sandbag chimney around it, the boil has grown larger and is passing water and sediment through the dike. Department of Natural Resources engineers report there is a possibility of collapse, but none has occurred at this time. No section of the dike – locally known as levees – has collapsed.

“Blackhawk area of Portage is our major area of concern. This structure is wood, dirt and sand, constructed by farmers and horse teams 120 years ago,” said Greg Matthews, public affairs manager for the Department of Natural Resources. “Should the dike fail, it is very hard to predict how quickly or how wide the collapse would be. For this reason we are urging people to listen to instructions from Columbia County emergency authorities.”

Matthews reports that the entire 14-mile Portage dike system is saturated and in poor shape. “Our crews are on 24-hour surveillance. When we see a problem we immediately act to repair it,” he said. Forty staff are monitoring the dike system and numerous sandbagging operations are in process.

The Wisconsin River is at an all-time flood high at 20.6 feet, flooding from heavy rains in the western and northern parts of the state. The river is expected to crest as early as today, but is expected to take several days after crest to recede from current flood levels. DNR’s Incident Management Team will continue to maintain surveillance not only in the Blackhawk area but along sections of the 14-mile-long levee for several more days.

I-39 is open. There may be traffic delays due to construction, not flooding issues.

Mississippi River Counties: Counties along the Mississippi River are experiencing minor to moderate flooding. Runoff from last week's heavy rain is now entering the Mississippi River, causing the river to rise. Many locations along the Mississippi River are expected to crest at or above flood stage, with a few spots reaching moderate flood.

Wood, Portage and Marathon Counties: As flood waters continue to drop, local officials have begun damage assessments on Tuesday.

Trempealeau County: Trempealeau County had widespread damage from last week's heavy rains. Over the weekend, local emergency management officials have been conducting damage assessments.

Eau Claire County: County Emergency Management reports 6 homes in the Altoona area are reporting basement flooding.

Chippewa County: About a half dozen residences along the Chippewa River on 86th Street, 26th Avenue and 27th Avenue in the Village of Hallie, Chippewa County, were flooded on Saturday and Sunday.

Pepin County: Approximately 20 businesses on the riverside of Main St. in Durand all have water in the basement. Officials report the river is cresting now and will be up through Monday afternoon. The city lost one of its wells but is still running on other wells. City of Durand sanitary system is running at capacity and has three backup pumps ready to use if need be. Two county roads are closed because of Chippewa flooding.

Taylor County: The County is reporting a number of county and town road closures due to flooding.

Juneau, Sauk and Iowa Counties: Report scattered minor flooding and plan to conduct damage assessments this week once the water recedes.

National Weather Service: Counties along the Mississippi River, the Eau Claire area and Columbia County are under a flood warning. Several of the rivers have crested or are expected to crest in the next few days.

Road Update: For current road conditions, dial 511 or visit http://www.511wi.gov


UPDATED Sunday, September 26, 2010 --- 3:16 p.m.

From Wisconsin Emergency Management:

SUBJECT: Situation Report #8 on Severe Weather

Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) is currently in Level 4 activation due to the flooding in the State. A Duty Officer and Senior Duty Officer are monitoring the events and responding to inquiries and requests for support from county emergency management departments and state agencies.

Adams County:

Minor flooding has affected several homes in far southern Adams County. Highway Z is closed near Highway 82.

Columbia County:

Columbia County has a declared state of emergency and their emergency operations center (EOC) is operational.

The Caledonia-Lewiston levee on the Wisconsin River has real potential for failure. A Department of Natural Resources (DNR) incident engineering team and the Department of Transportation (DOT) are on site and are monitoring the levee condition and the water level.

If the Caledonia-Lewiston levee breaks, there is concern for I-39 north of the Baraboo River bridge. The highway would likely have to close at that point. A local 100-resident subdivision is at risk of a washout of the main road in and out of the community should the levee give way. Homes in the subdivision are on high ground, however, and should not be impacted. The County suggested that the residents evacuate.

Columbia County Emergency Management (EM) requested inmate strike teams from the Portage Correctional Facility to fill sandbags. The WEM Duty Officer contacted the Department of Corrections to inform them of the request for the ongoing tasking of Portage facility inmates.

Grant County:

No issues to report. No state assistance requested.

Jackson County:

The Black River crested yesterday and the water is receding. No evacuations are occurring and no one is displaced at this time. Most people returned to their homes on Friday. There are still 30 roads closed, mostly township roads except for CTH VV.

La Crosse County:

County EOC has closed.

Minor flooding was reported in the Town of Campbell, with a campground and some homes affected. The water level is expected to peak this afternoon and quickly reduce.

Portage County:

County EOC has closed. The Wisconsin River crested on Saturday but is receding slowly.

I-39 north of Coddington Road is down to one southbound lane due to the subsurface being washed out. State Highway 66 is closed from the City of Stevens Point west to the county line. Several county roads are still closed but may be opened to restricted traffic. 15 to 20 town roads are also closed.

A bridge on CTH HH has problems and has been opened to local traffic only during the day today. It will be closed again later today and a state bridge inspector will be there on Monday to see if it can be reopened.

A "Code Red" (reverse 911) message was sent to 400 Stevens Point residents on Friday evening at 1750 hours, asking them to evacuate and prepare to be out of the area for 1-2 days. They were told to take medications and any special dietary requirements with them.

A shelter was set up at Stevens Point Area Senior High on Northpoint Drive. Pets were allowed, but due to space limitations, it was recommended that residents contact friends or the Humane Society to take care of their pets during the evacuation.

At least 10 homes remain evacuated and gas lines are still not connected.

Sandbags were provided to the Stevens Point Care Center, but it is not in jeopardy. The Wisconsin River Country Club is closed.

The county has updated its website with flood information.

Sauk County:

Levee Road has water over it and remains closed.

The County suggested that residents in low-lying areas along the Wisconsin River evacuate. They do not know the number who have evacuated at this point, as many of the properties are vacation homes.

The County issued an advisory to residents along the Wisconsin River from Indian Trail to the Columbia County border to evacuate their homes due to rising water levels. No state assistance is requested at this time.

Trempealeau County:

Water has dropped in the County and road barricades are down. Trempealeau County EM has begun contacting locals to document damages. A handful of damaged homes have been reported, but much of the damage at this time is in the form of mud and debris.

The local state of emergency is expected to end on Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning.

Wood County:

County EOC closed Sunday afternoon, but the Wood County EM Director is monitoring calls for support. No assistance is requested.

Wisconsin Rapids:

The Wisconsin Rapids State Office Building, located at 1681 Second Avenue South in Wisconsin Rapids, has been closed as a result of recent flooding in the area. It is anticipated that the building will remain closed on Monday, September 27th and Tuesday, September 28th. It is expected that the building will reopen on Wednesday, September 29th.

On Saturday, the National Guard's Joint Operations Center called WEM requesting a water pump for the Wisconsin Rapids Armory. The WEM Duty Officer informed him that only immediate resource option was with Wood County EM and recommended that they continue to work the issue with the WING Facilities Manager or obtain civilian contractor support if needed.

Evacuations in Wisconsin Rapids are complete. Shelters are holding approximately 10 citizens and are expected to close Sunday.


UPDATED Saturday, September 25, 2010 --- 10:35 a.m.

STEVENS POINT, Wis. (AP) -- The central Wisconsin city of Stevens Point and Portage County are experiencing some of their worst flooding in 17 years.

The Stevens Point Journal reports the Wisconsin Rover is expected to crest around midday Saturday, about two feet higher than the 1993 level.

With water flows at the Stevens Point dam expected to remain at record levels through Sunday, officials are urging residents to obey road closed signs, heed evacuation notices and, above all, stay clear of the river.

Portage County Executive Patty Dreier on Friday called it a "a 100-year-plus flood event."

She spoke less than an hour after Gov. Jim Doyle declared a state of emergency for Portage, Wood, Buffalo, Marathon and Jackson counties.

The Stevens Point Journal reports several homes in Portage County have been evacuated. Many roads in the area remain closed after two days of rain this week dumped almost 5.5 inches of rain on the area.

Information from:
Stevens Point Journal

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


UPDATED Saturday, September 25, 2010 --- 10:35 a.m.

ARCADIA, Wis. (AP) -- The western Wisconsin town of Arcadia has faced down its latest flood scare.

While the Trempealeau River prompted a large evacuation Friday morning, the Winona (Minn.) Daily News reports that most residents returned home by nightfall as the water levels dropped.

The exodus came just one day after two creeks bordering the city poured into portions of Arcadia's downtown, swamping several businesses and prompting officials to urge more than half of the 2,400 residents to leave.

But the river did not top the levies, and many residents returned to their homes Friday night.

The newspaper reports that Trempealeau County's emergency management coordinator, Dan Schreiner, says the flooding threat is over for now in Arcadia. But the work isn't over. He says officials will be assessing the damage Saturday.

Information from:
Winona Daily News

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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