Flooding in Algoma was main problem as weekend storms hit Kewaunee County
KEWAUNEE COUNTY – Massive amounts of rain and resulting floods appear to have wreaked the most havoc in Kewaunee County from the storms that caused serious damage across Wisconsin the night of July 19 and afternoon of July 20.
However, the county apparently escaped the worst damage that hit most other counties in Northeast Wisconsin, especially high winds that caused widespread, lengthy power outages that continued into Tuesday night in some locations.
Kewaunee County Emergency Management Director Tracy Nollenberg said Wednesday morning that she had reports of fallen trees with an unknown number of power outages across the county, but for the most part the outages weren't lengthy and it appeared communities were able to take care of problems themselves.
"Almost every municipality I talked to had trees down, power outages, some flooding in areas, but they were all able to handle it on their own," Nollenberg said. "Nobody was without power for 24 hours that I'm aware of. For the most part, Kewaunee County fared well."
Flooding was the biggest problem in Algoma, Public Works Director Matt Murphy said, with 2.5 to 3 feet of water covering nine blocks west of the downtown business district and south of the Ahnapee River.
Murphy said July 19's round of severe weather didn't cause many problems, but the serious floods came after the second round of storms blew through around noon July 20. Most of the affected area is residential, he said, with about 22 reports of flooded basements. He also noted there were few reports of wind damage, no reports of downed trees and one reported power outage.
"About 95 percent of the damage is flooding," Murphy said.
While he didn't have an official weather report, Murphy said unofficial reports indicate more than five inches of rain fell on Algoma over the weekend. He said a couple of longtime residents told him it's the worst flooding they've seen in the city.
"Saturday at noon, after the sirens went off, is when we really got hit," Murphy said.
Murphy said the Algoma Fire and Rescue and the Algoma Police departments closed roads, and Fire and Rescue pumped flood waters into the Ahnapee River from about 2 p.m. July 20 until 7 a.m. Sunday to clear the streets.
In Kewaunee, a post on the city's Facebook page timestamped at 1:02 p.m. July 20 says, "There is a lot of water sitting on the roads from this storm. Center Street at 4th should be avoided for now."
Meanwhile, the village of Luxemburg, about 12 miles inland from the lake shore, saw a few problems but escaped major damages, Public Works Supervisor Rick Simonar said.
"Actually, we came out pretty unscathed," Simonar said. "No huge trees down … a little storm sewer flooding in some areas."
Power outages that affected the southern part of the county caused the biggest concern, because a generator had to be fired up to run the village's water tower from about 9 to 11:40 p.m. July 20. A village well also lost power but its generator started automatically, Simonar said.
"Other than that, we were pretty fortunate," he said.
Across the county, Sheriff Matt Joski said the Sheriff's Department went out on 32 service calls related to the storm during a five-hour window the morning and afternoon of July 20, ranging from utility outages to traffic hazards.
"There was nothing substantial," Joski said, "no injuries or any substantial property damage, some power outages."
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Flooding in Algoma was main problem as weekend storms hit Kewaunee County