Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser declared a state of emergency today after another bout of heavy rainfall caused severe flooding across the county. An emergency declaration positions Kenosha County to ask for state and federal resources, if the situation warrants.
The Kenosha County Emergency Operations Center was activated mid-morning, as authorities responded to washed-out roadways and citizens with water-related issues.
Road conditions were poor on at least some portions of many roads across Kenosha County throughout the day, particularly on Highway K (60th Street), where flooding and washouts were present along the stretch between highways D and 75.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation announced Highway 50 will close near the Fox River by 6 p.m. today, as water levels there are rising. That closure may be in effect throughout the weekend, or until water levels dissipate, the DOT reported. With high water levels on adjacent roadways, and active construction along Highway 142 near Burlington, the DOT suggests motorists detour around the closure via highways 83, 11 and 75.
Sheriff David Beth said virtually every county road was affected by flooding in at least one location.
The Sheriff’s Department advises motorists not to drive in areas where roads are marked closed, and to avoid driving through standing water.
All Kenosha County residents or businesses that have sustained damage should report that damage to the Kenosha County Emergency Management Flood Hotline at 262-605-7924, and leave a message detailing the damage sustained. Damage may also be reported by email at [email protected].
Kreuser reiterated how important it is for people, businesses and municipalities to report flood damage to Emergency Management to optimize the available state and federal resources. The county may qualify for outside funding if total damage reaches a certain threshold. Estimated expenses people may report include structural damage and carpet cleaning and replacement.
Kreuser was also concerned that people remain aware of safety conditions around them, their friends and family.
“If you’re unsafe or feel unsafe and need to get out, call a friend or call law enforcement,” Kreuser said. “Make sure you check on elderly and disabled friends and family. Call them – don’t drive there until it’s safe to travel.”
Underscoring the potential for danger in flooded areas, Pleasant Prairie Fire & Rescue, with the assistance of Somers Fire & Rescue, evacuated eight people and two dogs from the Pleasant Prairie Mobile Home Park, 11703 60th St. The park was flooded with waters from the nearby Kilbourn Road Ditch. No injuries were reported.
As of about 10:30 a.m., 7.75 inches of rainfall were reported at the New Munster Weather Rain Station. At Brighton Dale Park, an estimated 11 inches of rain fell. This was on top of storms that dropped several inches of rain on the area early Monday, saturating the ground in many places.
Brighton Dale and Petrifying Springs parks, including their golf courses, were closed Wednesday and may remain closed Thursday. Other county parks remain open, though Parks Division Director Matt Collins urges people to use caution. Collins advises against using the Silver Lake Park trails at this time, due to instability caused by flooding.
Authorities are now turning their attention toward the Fox River, which is expected to crest Thursday at 15 to 16 feet, exceeding the previous high level set in 2008.