State of Emergency declared as officials continue to assess the damage


A massive storm washed out roads, bridges and critical underground infrastructure in northern Wisconsin earlier this week.

Officials continue to survey the destruction, which includes extensive damage to parts of U.S. Highway 2, a major thoroughfare in the region, that cut off the city of Ashland and left Saxon Harbor in a state of disrepair.

In response, Gov. Scott Walker declared a State of Emergency in eight counties after the area received 8 to 12 inches of rain Monday night. The Ashland County Emergency Management Agency also issued a warning that travel was not advised, as flash flooding made for treacherous conditions.

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According to the Weather Channel, the White River rose 7 feet, a new record level, and the Bad River rose over 15 feet. The Ashland Daily Press reports that rivers in northern Wisconsin are receding, but many roadways remain closed with no timetable for repair.

The newspaper also reports that a sanitary sewer overflow occurred at the city of Washburn’s wastewater treatment plant on the night of the storm, spilling about 70,000 gallons of untreated wastewater. City officials say a high amount of inflow was experienced due to a large amount of rain in a short period of time. Public Works personnel initiated a bypass to help protect the plant, which sits on the shores of Lake Superior.

“I express my thanks and appreciation to all of the first responders and officials in the area who are working hard to manage the situation,” Walker says. “I am instructing the Wisconsin National Guard and all state agencies to aid those affected by the storms.”

Related: Flash Floods Kill 8, Leave 5 Missing in Utah

Photos posted to social media this week capture the extent of the damage:

 

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