A flood watch was issued for the entire state of Wisconsin this week. The National Weather Services issued the watch after predicting that three additional inches of rain would fall Monday through Wednesday. On Wednesday, Southern Wisconsin was under watch for flash floods. Forecasters are saying the rain is the result of a low pressure system moving in from the Great Plains.
After the rains swept through, Door County, in particular, was hit hard. After four inches of rain fell on the city, local flooding and power outages became widespread. Approximately 3,300 Wisconsin Public Service Corp. customers lost power after the storms, and approximately 1,000 were still waiting on Friday for their power to be restored.
Flooding was varied, with older and historic buildings less outfitted for leaks often bearing the brunt of the hit — the Ephraim Historical Foundation discovered about six feet of water in its elevator shaft. In Baileys Harbor, crews worked to pump water from the Toft House’s basement in an effort to save the historic building.
Door County Brewing Co. was one of several businesses in Baileys Harbor affected by the flooding. Much is at stake for these companies — not only do they often lack insurance, but many small businesses choose to store food or wares in their basement, making them especially susceptible to flood loss. According to Ben McMahon, the company’s tap room manager, the old stone foundation had no backup pump, and water came up through all the cracks. The brewery has, so far, lost 400 pounds’ worth of grain.
To prevent future flooding disaster, homeowners and business owners are advised to invest in flooding insurance, which is not typically included in overall building insurance. A backup pump or generator should be available in case the initial pump breaks or loses power. Custom built homes can also allow homeowners to better prepare for regional weather through smart foundation building.
Last week, the Northern half of the state experienced up to seven inches of rain. Many rivers were quickly rising and several went above their flood stages last week. By the end of this week, however, things are likely to be much cooler and drier, allowing communities to recover.