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Heavy rain causes flash flooding, road closures in western Wis.

Published On: Jun 22 2013 07:16:49 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 23 2013 12:49:21 PM CDT
LA CROSSE, Wis. -

Heavy rain has led to flash flooding in parts of southwestern Wisconsin, and northern Grant County was hit especially hard.

Boscobel received nearly 8 inches of rain.

The Wisconsin Emergency Operations Center said local officials in Boscobel reported that more than half the community's streets were flooded early Saturday, but most of the water has receded.

Damage assessments are under way to determine how many homes sustained flood damage. The Red Cross and Salvation Army are providing assistance.

Boscobel is a community of about 3,200 people on the Wisconsin River.

Residents there woke up Saturday morning to find their streets, homes, and backyards flooded after heavy storms hit Grant County this weekend.

Boscobel native Nancy Wagner said her own backyard resembled a lake.

"We just look like we have waterfront property, that's all," she said. "We never dreamed when we'd get up this morning, that's what we'd find."

Following nearly eight inches of rainfall that hit the area hard Friday night, 600 homes are swimming in water from their backyards to their basements. It's a scene unlike anything this small town has seen before.

In some neighborhoods, residents reported standing water at heights of nearly three feet, a virtual swampland that spanned several blocks.

What used to be backyards were rivers that forced firemen to evacuate two dozen houses by boat.

"I'm 71 years old, and I've never seen water to this extent," said Boscobel mayor Steve Wetter. "You know they talk about the 100-year flood, and then they talk about the 500-year flood. I'm not sure what one this was, but it was one of them."

"This is something that hasn't happened in Boscobel to this extent in my recollection," said Grant County Emergency Services Director Steve Braun.

He added eight fire departments from surrounding areas joined the Boscobel Fire Department in helping the community clear water and debris from city streets.

"There are a lot of homes that have water and or sewage in the basement, and are looking at how they're gonna get their homes cleaned up," said Braun.

The National Weather Service said additional storms were expected Saturday that could result in more flash flooding in southwestern Wisconsin.

Elsewhere, a lightning strike was also blamed for a gas line break small fire at a Milwaukee home early Saturday.

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