Winter flood threatens Menominee businesses - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Winter flood threatens Menominee businesses


KESHENA (WAOW) -- Three ice jams in Wolf River have caused flooding in downtown Keshena.

Jeremy Weso, a highway commissioner for Menominee County, says locals are used to dealing with floods.

"Every spring we do see some flooding," said Weso.

He says the flooding isn't usually this bad or in the middle of December.

"This time of year it's pretty unusual," explained Brian Kelley who owns Legendz Bait and Tackle in Keshena. The shop is one of the two businesses impacted by the flood.

Officials say the Wolf River's water levels started rising a week ago. More than 1,000 sandbags have been stacked to protect buildings from the water.

Weso says the flooding is caused by three large ice jams in the Wolf River. Menominee tribal and county leaders are working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to figure out how to solve the problem.

"The main concern we have right now is the potential for imminent flooding that's going to impact the road surface and properties," explained Weso.

Officials say two businesses and a dozen homes are currently threatened by the flooding.

"[Houses are] already taking in water from the basement and the sump pumps are going full throttle," Kelley said.

If the ice jams aren't cleared soon, highway commissioners say they might have to shut down roads for the winter.

Kelley says that would hurt his business and potentially shut Legendz Bait and Tackle down for the winter.

With warmer temperatures coming this weekend, business owners say all they can do is stack up sandbags and wait.

"Mother Nature wants to do what it wants to do," explained Kelley. "There's not much we can do about it."

Menominee tribal officials say they're not sure what the warmer weather will mean. They say higher temperatures could either help melt the ice jams or cause the flooding to get worse.

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