Roads, schools close because of floodingMany streets in the city of Superior have water flowing over them because of the extreme amount of rain over Tuesday night and still coming down.
Mayor Bruce Hagen has declared a state of emergency after more than 7 inches of rain dumped in the city.
"It's a mess," Hagen said. "We've got roads washed out, storm sewers are overwhelmed.
Hagen, who is going to be out touring and assessing the damage, said he is also planning to talk to the governor about declaring a state of emergency.
Many streets in the city of Superior have water flowing over them because of the extreme amount of rain over Tuesday night and still coming down.
Douglas County Board Chairman Doug Finn also declared a state of emergency because of the extensive damage from flooding.
Everyone is urged to use caution, according to the Superior Police Department.
Douglas County has opened an emergency gathering/mustering point at the Douglas County Government Center, 1316 N. 14th St., Room 270, Superior according to the county website. Anyone in need of an alternative shelter may go to this location. A full Emergency Shelter will open later in the day if needed.
City officials are cautioning people to stay our of the water because of quick moving currents and the danger of drowning.
Parks and Recreation Administrator Mary Morgan said police are removing people from Central Park for their own protection.
Morgan said the city will also be assessing playground sites Thursday morning to determine if regular summer programs will resume; the decision will be made available on the parks hotline Thursday.
Many streets in the city of Superior have water flowing over them or have washed out because of the extreme amount of rain that fell on Tuesday night, according to the Superior Police Department. The Blatnik Bridge detour route on Belknap Street, U.S. Highway 2, is affected near Poplar Avenue. Other main arteries including Tower Avenue near 46th Street, 28th Street near Superior High School and Hill Avenue between North 21st Street and Belknap Street are affected by the huge amount of run off.
The Superior Public Works Department is working to put barricades in place to direct traffic away from or around affected areas. Everyone is encouraged to be patient and drive carefully around the areas where workers are putting barricades in place and directing traffic.
Getting from Superior's East End to downtown around 8:30 a.m. is difficult because of the number of closed and flooded roads, said Superior Telegram Photographer Jed Carlson. He said he tried North 28th, North 21st and East 5th streets, but was unable to get through.
According to the Wisconsin Emergency Operations Center, most of the damage is located along the lake shore and in the northwest part of the county. The following communities have received the greatest damage the City of Superior, and the towns of Superior, Parkland, Lakeside and Cloverland.
National Bank of Commerce will close all six locations for the day at 2 p.m. because of weather-related conditions The bank's locations are anticipated to reopen as usual Thursday.
The Superior Public Library is closed today due to the flooding.
The Superior School District has canceled all summer school classes and meetings for today due to the weather conditions. However, there is no flooding in any of the schools. The due date for health change forms has been moved to Thursday.
The WITC Superior Campus has officially canceled all day and evening classes for today.
Senior Connections offices are closed and no services will be offered due to the weather. That includes the senior meals program.
The Bayside Sounds concert scheduled for tonight at Barker's Island has been canceled.
The University of Wisconsin-Superior also is closed today.
According to University Spokeswoman Lynn Williams, the university last power Tuesday night and there is flooding in every building. University officials are still assessing the damage and working to ensure those living on campus are safe. She said some of the buildings are being powered by generators, and the university officials are working with Benson Electric trying to restore power.
DTA service changes
As of 9 a.m., the DTA is changing the following service due to flooding. Service is subject to change depending on water levels.
ROUTE 2F – No service in Fond Du Lac
ROUTE 2 – No service in Morgan Park
ROUTE 3 – No service in Proctor due to condition of Highland St.
ROUTE 4 – Detoured off of W. Superior St at Carlton Ave. Using Grand Avenue to Central Avenue.
ROUTE 5 – No service past Mall Door 8.
ROUTE 6 – Detoured off of Woodland Avenue and St. Marie St. Using College St. to Kirby
ROUTE 10 & 10H – No service past Mall Door 8.
ROUTE 11M – No service past UMD.
ROUTE 12 – No service.
ROUTE 13 – No service past UMD.
ROUTE 14 – No service past Mall Door 8.
ROUTE 16 – Using Belknap St. to Hwy 2. No service on Catlin through UWS and no service to the Mariner Mall and Hill Street
ROUTE 17 – South Superior buses detoured by Fairgrounds but there is service to end of route. No Billings Park Service.
ROUTE 20 – No service.
In rural Douglas County, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation is also cautioning drivers to stay away from State Highway 13, between County Roads U and UU because of flood damage. Wisconsin Highway 13 near Morrison Creek between Superior and Cornucopia has also been closed. Wisconsin Highway 105 is also under water and closed.
Before heading out in Douglas County, check for more road closures.
Up-to-date information about statewide flooding closures and other traffic incidents is available through the Wisconsin 511 system, on the Web at www.511wi.gov or by phone -- dial 511.
Commuters headed to Duluth may want to reconsider.
Due to heavy rainfall and flash floods, many roadways in and around the Duluth area are experiencing extremely dangerous conditions such as roadways underwater, sinkholes, mudslides, man hole covers open etc. Portions of I-35 in Duluth are impassable. Many homes are reporting flooded basements.
The Duluth Police Department is asking citizens to remain at home and any travel needs to be for emergency only. Also, any calls to 911 should be for emergency purposes only.
Weather forecasts at 5 a.m. are predicting significant rainfall throughout the morning.
The Duluth Police Department, Duluth Fire Department and City of Duluth staff are coordinating with local EMS to respond and assist as needed. They have evacuated some homes in low-lying areas in the Fon-Du-Lac neighborhood.
Intense prolonged rains have caused sewer overflows in the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District (WLSSD) sewer system. Rainfall in this dangerous and intense storm varies in the region, and currently reach about 7 inches of rain over the last day in some areas.
“We are presently assessing the extent of overflows in our system,” said Marianne Bohren, WLSSD executive director. “No information is currently available regarding the overflow locations and volumes of overflows. This is a dangerous and significant storm, causing major flooding and preventing us from gathering details.” With rains continuing and more rain forecasted, details of the overflows will be available later in the week.
Residents should avoid contact with any sewer overflow due to the potential for exposure to disease-causing organisms.
All managers at the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Superior were out in the field early Wednesday morning so no information was available.
Superior firefighters have been on the go since noon Tuesday dealing with water-related issues. A number of fire calls — including one at the Midwest Energy terminal, were found to be caused by the wet weather affecting electric equipment and fuse boxes.
“When electrical equipment in basements gets wet it gives off a whiff of smoke,” said Battalion Chief Vern Johnson with the Superior Fire Department. Although there was smoke in the terminal, no hot spots were found.
He urged people concerned about electrical systems in their basement getting wet to call Superior Water, Light & Power to have them pull boxes and shut electricity off from the exterior of the house. That prevents residents from having to wade into potentially charged water to turn it off.
Bill Fennessey with Superior Water, Light & Power said that due to the volume of calls being received, crews will only be responding to situations where water is within one foot of the breaker box or the box is already under water.
"That's our priority right now," he said.
Responding to calls has been difficult with the flooded streets. Firefighters have developed mazelike ways to get around flooded spots. The department even got one request for a boat rescue. Water wasn’t high enough in the area to warrant such help, Johnson said.
“We’ve had tons of calls from people who want us to help pump their basement out,” Johnson said. But the department no longer provides that service.
The battalion chief encouraged people to keep candles or lanterns handy just in case and to focus on staying safe. He said people should stay out of the water because of strong currents and unseen holes and debris underwater.
“Take care of yourself,” Johnson said. Stay safe and warm and don’t worry about stuff.
Duluth Mayor Don Ness and Hermantown Mayor Wayne Boucher have also declared states of emergency in those communities.
Thunderstorms will continue across northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin and increase in coverage and intensity late this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
Check back for updates.