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Storm cleanup begins after storms soak southern Minn., western Wis.

August 28, 2018

Drying out and cleaning up is the order of the day across southeastern Minnesota and southwestern Wisconsin after strong storms and massive flooding left a trail of damage across the area.

Between 6 and 12 inches of rain fell across La Crosse, Monroe, and Vernon counties in western Wisconsin, with floodwaters inundating towns and overtaking roads. Overnight more than 100 people were evacuated from the town of Coon Valley, a small town southeast of La Crosse where 38 roads in the Vernon county were closed and several homes and businesses sustained heavy damage from flooding, said Linda Nederlo, public information officer for the county.

Residents in several homes along Hwy. 35 and Old Hwy. 35 south of La Crosse were evacuated overnight. Authorities were evacuating a mobile home park where the water was reported to be chest high, the National Weather Service said.

High winds felled trees and ripped off roofs across Goodhue County Monday afternoon and evening as a powerful line of storms moved across southern Minnesota into Wisconsin. Significant damage to a hangar was reported at the Red Wing Airport, where wind gusts reached 82 miles per hour, the National Weather Service said.

Large trees and power lines were knocked down across the city and part of southeastern in Minnesota and western Wisconsin as the storms rolled through. The severe weather forced the Red Wing City Council meeting Monday night to be delayed as those in attendance took cover in the basement until storms passed.

More than 5 inches of rain fell across Houston County in southeastern Minnesota where flash flooding was reported.

On Tuesday, massive flooding across western Wisconsin made roads impassable, prompting the National Weather Service to issue an ominous warning.

“Life threatening flooding is occurring now over portions of the southeast Minnesota into southwest and central Wisconsin. Many roads under water and evacuations continue in areas,” the warning read. “If you normally drive through this area, expect big delays, detours, or impassable roads.”

Officials also were anxious in that two dams in Vernon County have been compromised, Nederlo said. Record flooding may also occur along the Kickapoo River near Ontario, she said.

Damage reports are still coming in as officials assess the situation. The good news is that there have been no injuries or deaths reported so far, she said.

The bad news is that more rain is in Tuesday’s forecast.

Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768

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