Friday, September 21, 2018

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Weathering the storm: Eau Claire County continuing work to clear flooded roads

  • Wisconsin-Flooding-12

    Austin Eppli with Gebhardt Development setting up barricades on Livingston Street and East Washington Ave. in Madison on Aug. 24. Wisconsin is continuing to battle flooding. Areas throughout Eau Claire County reported up to 6 inches of rain Tuesday night.

    Associated Press

After up to 6 inches of rain drenched some portions of Eau Claire County Tuesday night, county highway officials are continuing work to reopen and clear area roads.

Remaining closed is Highway D between Highways V and HH near the Eau Claire unincorporated community of Allen, county highway commissioner Jon Johnson said. The road has been closed since midnight Wednesday.

“I have 10 years of experience, but I would say in the last four years flooding seems to happen twice as much as it used to,” Johnson said. “This intensity of more than 5 inches of rainfall is more than we’re used to.”

The highest rainfall reported in Eau Claire County Tuesday night was 6 inches in Fall Creek, said Alexandra Keclik, a National Weather Service meteorologist.

Other nearby areas had reports nearing 4 to 5 inches, including a report of 4.87 inches about three miles southwest of the city of Eau Claire and 3.68 inches near Augusta, Keclik said.

“This was extremely heavy rain, and it was widespread across the region,” Keclik said. “That’s what causes this kind of flooding to happen.”

Other roads that closed due to flooding included Highway M, Highway H in the Eau Claire County town of Bridge Creek and portions of U.S. 12. Although as of 9 a.m. all had been reopened, Johnson said Highway HH may have seen some damage to the blacktop and U.S. 12 remained closed to one lane.

Although no more rain is expected for the rest of the week, Eau Claire isn’t quite out of the water yet, Johnson said.

The Eau Claire River is expected to crest at 13.5 feet by this morning. By Friday afternoon, the city of Eau Claire reported the Chippewa River’s crest projection at 768.5 — about about 4.5 feet below the flood stage.

City officials expect the lower areas of the Chippewa River State Trail at Hobbs Boat Landing and behind Haas Fine Arts Center near the UW-Eau Claire footbridge to begin flooding today and remain that way into the weekend. Trail underpasses at Madison and Farwell streets, as well as lower areas of Owen Park will be flooded as well.

Still, Johnson said the flooding could’ve been worse, referencing recent persistent flooding in Dane County.

“I feel like we’re very blessed to get by with what’s happened so far,” Johnson said.

Trempealeau and Buffalo counties nearby also faced issues with flooded roads.

According to the Trempealeau County sheriff’s office, several roads remained closed as of Wednesday afternoon. Those roads included:

• Highway T at Highway TT

• Highway W at the Jackson County line

• Highway NN at Alvestad Road

• Swede Valley Road at Highway 93

• Jackson Road at Plum Creek Road

• Tracey Valley Road at Highway 53

• Peterson Road at U.S. 10

The Buffalo County town of Gilmanton reported 5.9 inches of rain, according to the National Weather Service. Other towns nearby reported about 5 inches, and the Buffalo River is expected to rise to flooding levels.

According to a Facebook post from the Buffalo County sheriff’s office, the following roads remained closed as of 7:30 a.m. Wednesday: Highway B from Highway 37 to Gilmanton and Sand Road between Highway B and Highway 88.

Anyone with water damage to their property should report damages to Great Rivers 211 by dialing 211 on their phone.

Those in Eau Claire County can also send photos to Eau Claire County Emergency Management through Facebook, Twitter or via email at emergency.management@co.eau-claire.wi.us.

Contact: 715-833-9206, samantha.west@ecpc.com, @SamanthaWest196 on Twitter


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