Environment

State of emergency declared in Wisconsin after severe thunderstorms leave 2 dead, major damage


Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker declared a state of emergency in Douglas, Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, and Iron counties on Monday, June 18, 2018, after severe thunderstorms beginning Saturday night dumped as much as 254 mm (10 inches) of rain on the already saturated ground. At least two people were killed and several injured. Material damage is expected to be in the millions.

The storm brought heavy rain, damaging wind, and large hailstones to parts of Upper Midwest, leaving massive destruction, more than 60 sinkholes and washouts and one failed earthen dam holding back water on the Tamarack River.

Numerous trees and power lines were downed in Wisconsin, while flash flooding and mudslides damaged roads and bridges in the counties of Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, and Iron.

The Radigan Flowage Dam west of Dairyland gave way, leading to flash flooding downstream in southern Douglas and northern Burnett counties in Wisconsin, and in far eastern Pine and Carlton counties in Minnesota, the Star Tribune reports. Few people live in the affected area and authorities said they didn’t expect to order any evacuations.

The Nemadji River set a new record of 9.23 m (30.3 feet), according to the National Weather Service. This is more than 0.91 m (3 feet) higher than the previous record set in 2012, when Duluth sustained massive damage from flash flooding after another 10-inch rainstorm.

One man was killed in Ashland County after his pickup truck went into a ditch near White River. The driver (75) was found dead 18 m (60 feet) from his vehicle. The second casualty is a 55-year-old man who died early Sunday, June 17, when a tree fell on his camper. A woman and two children were injured in the same incident, but not critically.

Wisconsin was not the only state to suffer major damage over the past couple of days as severe storms raged across Upper Midwest and into New England.

Up to 178 mm (7 inches) of rain fell across northern Houghton County in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on Sunday morning, June 17, 2017, causing ‘historic’ flood damage.

The worst affected areas include the towns of Houghton, Lake Linden, Dodgeville and Hancock, where over 60 sinkholes and washouts were reported. Several roads in the Houghton and Hancock areas were washed away.

According to Michigan State Police, state officials initiated emergency operations in response to flash flooding and extreme weather in Houghton and Menominee counties.

65.27 mm (2.57 inches) of rain was recorded in Marquette, the most populous county in the Upper Peninsula, on June 17, breaking the previous daily rainfall record of 21.84 mm (0.86 inches) from 1978. The amount also set the second highest daily rainfall total for the month of June.

More than 100 000 customers were left without power after a powerful storm caused major damage as it moved through New England on June 18, 2018.

Featured image credit: Wisconsin Department of Transportation



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