Following torrential downpours that flooded streets, basements and fields early Monday, a second wave of severe weather came through southern Wisconsin early Wednesday, with the new surge of water flooding streets and waterways and creating meteorological misery from La Crosse to Kenosha.
“It appears the hardest-hit areas were in Walworth, Racine and Kenosha counties,” said Lori Getter, crisis communications manager at Wisconsin Emergency Management.
Rainfall amounts from the Milwaukee office of the National Weather Service proved it, with 7.75 inches of rain at Bohner’s Lake in Kenosha County, 6.6 inches at the Burlington airport in Racine County and 5 inches in Genoa City in Walworth County.
The Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department said crews evacuated eight people and two dogs Wednesday from the Pleasant Prairie Mobile Home Park after rising waters from a nearby ditch flooded the park. No one was hurt.
Numerous other municipalities also had to contend with with impassable streets due to flooding. Amtrak had to suspend travel between Milwaukee and Chicago, but service on the Hiawatha line resumed Wednesday afternoon.
“There have been washed-out roads in Clark and Chippewa counties, and a bridge was washed out in the town of Lafayette in Chippewa County,” Getter said.
Manhole covers were blowing off on streets in Waukesha because of too much water in storm sewers, and the Honey Creek dam in East Troy was being monitored because water was flowing over the top.
Madison had plenty of rain Wednesday morning, but only seven-tenths of an inch was recorded at the airport.
Madison Streets Division Superintendent Chris Kelley said a few trees came down, some streets were flooded and there were reports of washouts along some streets, but all in all the city came out in good shape.
“If we get more rain, however, we can expect some trees to get uprooted,” Kelley said.
A lightning strike at about 4 a.m. Wednesday destroyed a 60-foot ash tree at the corner of Harvest Hill and Westfield roads on Madison’s Far West Side. The lightning damaged part of the sidewalk, blew out some windows and damaged the siding of a nearby house; it also threw debris from the tree up to 130 feet away. The downed tree blocked Harvest Hill Road for more than five hours.
Alliant Energy had about 2,600 customers without power at noon Wednesday, mostly in far southwest Wisconsin near Dubuque and in the Lake Geneva area.
We Energies had restored power to 20,000 customers since early Wednesday, leaving fewer than 600 without power by late afternoon.
A flood warning was issued Wednesday morning for the Rock River at Afton south of Janesville, since the river reached flood stage at 9 feet by mid-morning. The river had receded below flood stage by evening.
Cooler and drier air is coming on Thursday, and the sun is expected to be the dominant weather feature on Friday and through the weekend.
Temperatures are expected to be seasonal, mostly in the upper 70s to low 80s, with a slight chance for storms Saturday night — the only rain in the forecast from Thursday night to Tuesday.
State Journal reporter Barry Adams and The Associated Press contributed to this report.