Governor declares state of emergency in Wisconsin flooding

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 26, 2012 8:20 PM

By Brendan O'Brien

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on Tuesday declared a state of emergency for three counties in the northwest corner of the state ravaged last week when heavy rain caused flooding that damaged more than 500 homes and businesses.

Some roads remain underwater from the heavy rain of three to five inches that fell across northwestern Wisconsin on June 19 and 20, causing damage to roads, culverts and other public infrastructure of more than $2.5 million.

"It's always difficult to see the damage left behind once flood waters recede," Walker said after meeting with local officials and flood victims in the region.

The state of emergency covers Douglas, Ashland and Bayfield counties and allows local municipalities to seek reimbursement for repair and cleanup costs. Walker also directed all state agencies to assist the area in the cleanup and recovery effort.

No deaths were reported from the flooding in these counties. Three people died in Clark County to the south late at night last week when vehicles entered a ravine created where a road washed out.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton declared a state of emergency late last week for the northeastern part of his state near Wisconsin where up to 10 inches of rain fell in some spots.

Hundreds of residents in northeastern Minnesota were forced from their homes because of flooding last week that ripped up dozens of roads, caused mudslides and sinkholes and killed a dozen animals at the Lake Superior Zoo.

Federal officials have started preliminary storm damage assessments for 13 Minnesota counties and the Fond du Lac tribal nation to determine whether Minnesota will seek federal disaster aid.

Banning Straws
John Stossel

Duluth's mayor on Thursday said damage was estimated at up to $80 million to the city's public infrastructure alone. About 250 Duluth residents in one neighborhood were forced from their homes due to flooding.

No deaths or serious injuries were reported in Minnesota from the flooding. Damage from last week's storm was more widespread and the rainfall heavier in Duluth than in a similar 1972 storm, according to the National Weather Service.

Several communities near Duluth had residents forced from their homes as well as two campgrounds and some roads remain under water.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien and David Bailey; Editing by Greg McCune)