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Rain, melting snow cause flooding

Published On: Mar 11 2013 04:17:36 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 12 2013 07:39:13 AM CDT

Turtle Creek ice dam

PORTAGE, Wis. -

Rain and melting snow over the weekend are causing flooding in some areas of southern Wisconsin.

Isolated flooding is reported in Beloit in areas adjacent to Turtle Creek and low-lying areas. City officials said ice dams have formed on the creek and residents are urged to avoid any recreational activities near the creek.

"You're putting your life in great risk if you go on (Turtle Creek)," said Chris Walsh, director of operations at the Beloit Public Works Department. "The water is really dangerous. It's moving very quickly."

The city is providing sandbags and sand at the Department of Public Works' operations facility on Springbrook Court.

Walter Hable filled dozens of sandbags Monday to protect his home on Beloit's northeast side.

The water was only a couple inches below the level of his basement Monday afternoon.

"We've got the sandbags there now," Hable said, looking at his home. "If the water comes any higher than that, there's nothing you can do about it."

Columbia County is also making sandbags available to residents.

The sandbags and sand are available at the Columbia County highway shop at 338 W. Old Highway 16 in Wyocena.

Columbia County Emergency Management Director Patrick Beghin said there are no specific areas of concern in the county, but he's taken calls from residents trying to keep water away from their homes.

Filled sandbags are available on a first-come first-served basis. After they are gone, fill-your-own bags will be available. Residents are asked to bring their own shovel. Used sandbags can be returned to the same location for disposal.

In Rock County, a flood warning was issued for Turtle Creek. As of Monday morning, the creek was 2 feet above flood stage.

Due to significant precipitation and rising temperatures, the Rock County area is under a flood warning. The Rock County Sheriff's Office said it has received several reports Monday of hazardous areas where water levels are high and in some instances are causing significant travel concerns.

The following incidents are being monitored by the Rock County Sheriff's Office and 911 Communications Center on Monday evening:

• West Keesey Road in Spring Valley Township -- Closed due to high water over the roadway.
• North Emerald Grove Road -- Between CTH M and East Six Corners Road -- Closed due to high water over the roadway.
• East Rotamer Road – Between North Henke Road and North Milton Shopiere Road -- Closed due to high water over the roadway.
• Turtle Creek -- Beloit and Clinton. Both have exceeded flood levels at this time.

The Rock County Sheriff's Office is urging residents to avoid traveling across high water on roadways and report any roads they come across that are impassable.

The Pecatonica River at Darlington is flooding low-lying parks, the Lafayette County Fairgrounds and ATV campgrounds. Some of the public lands will likely have some erosion damage.

As of Monday morning, floodwaters were on East Ann Street, Wells Street, East River Street and Main Street in Darlington.

No homes or occupied businesses are flooded, according to Darlington city officials.

Main Street, which is also State Highway 23, came close to shutting down due flooding from a massive thaw over the weekend.

At one point Sunday night, water from the swelling Pecatonica River was rising a foot an hour. County officials said they were preparing for the worst.

"It came up in a hurry," Lafayette County Highway Commissioner Tom Jean said. "We put a lot of barricades and lights and were ready to shut roads off. We weren't sure exactly if we were going to have to or not."

The river crested at 11 a.m. Monday at 14.42 feet, a foot above flood stage.

In Argyle, people were doing anything they could to get things as far away from the river as possible. Jean said flooding has become a regular part of dealing with spring in the river valley.

"They're fairly minor for us. I was born and raised in this area and we're kind of used to this type of event," Jean said. "We'll shut a few roads and wait for a couple days and the water goes down. We'll clean up and go again."

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