Flooding in southern Wisconsin along Fox River prompts evacuations
RACINE COUNTY, Wis. (WISN) -
Burlington authorities urged people who live along the Fox River to evacuate Wednesday night if possible.
The National Guard was going to arrive in town overnight, and all four bridges that cross the river have been closed.
As the sun set in Burlington Wednesday night, police were seen walking through the downtown telling people to go home because a citywide curfew was going into effect at 10 p.m. because of the flooding. It lasted until 6 a.m. Thursday.
"We continue to monitor this whole situation closely. Our hope is that we get no further rain, no further damage, and our residents can have a peaceful night," Burlington Mayor Jeannie Hefty said.
The Fox River in Burlington surpassed its record level Wednesday, which was set nearly a decade ago.
The river reached 15.94 feet Wednesday night and is expected to rise to 16.5 feet by noon Thursday. The previous record of 13.54 feet was set in 2008.
The river is normally about 4 feet, and flood stage is 11 feet.
Flooding knocked out a We Energies substation at about 5:45 p.m. in the Burlington area, leaving thousands without power. Crews were working on rerouting power from other areas. The communities affected include the city of Burlington, the town of Burlington, Dover and Rochester.
Hefty declared a state of emergency Wednesday morning for the municipality. She encouraged property owners to monitor the Fox and White River levels and expect increased flooding and to not boat on the Fox River.
Sand bags are being filled and distributed to the community. Two pick-up points are: Walgreens, 680 Milwaukee Ave.; and Karcher Middle School, 225 Robert St.
The area appears to have taken the brunt of a slow-moving storm that dumped several inches of rain throughout southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, knocking out power to thousands, closing roads and halting Amtrak's Hiawatha service between Milwaukee and Chicago.
One Burlington homeowner said he'd just walked out of his basement when he heard water busting through a window and flooding his home.
Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave declared a state of emergency Wednesday morning because of flash flooding throughout the county.
"We are concerned about the potential damage to both public infrastructure and to homes and businesses," Delagrave said. "County staff are monitoring the situation closely, and we are prepared to do everything we can to support local municipal efforts."
Walworth County was also hit.
In East Troy, the Honey Creek Dam on the south side of the city was being overtopped, the National Weather Service said.
Delavan Lake is under a Slow No Wake speed restriction due to high water levels. This will remain in effect until they have dropped to a safe level. As a result of the high levels all public boat launches are now closed until further notice. Please check the Town of Delavan website for updates.
Burlington Area School District summer school and community education classes are canceled Thursday
Six Flags Great America in Northern Illinois was closed Wednesday because of area flooding.
The Newaukee Night Market in downtown Milwaukee was canceled Wednesday night.
River Rhythms in Pere Marquette Park in Milwaukee was canceled Wednesday night.
The Waukesha Public Library was closed Wednesday because of a power outage. All programs were canceled.
We Energies reported 7,747 customers had no power as of 11:15 p.m. Wednesday Almost all of the outages are in Racine County.