The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Flood watch issued here as violent weather arrives

 


By RALPH ANSAMI

ransami@yourdailyglobe.com

Ironwood — The Gogebic Range went from high fire danger to flash flood warnings in less than 24 hours.

The National Weather Service warned thunderstorms could cause flooding conditions through Thursday morning. Flood watch warnings were issued for Gogebic and Ontonagon counties.

Several periods of showers and thunderstorms, some producing heavy rain, were expected. The heaviest rainfall was expected to occur late this afternoon and tonight, with up to 3 inches possible.

Law enforcement officials were again advising motorists not to drive through flooded areas, the cause of three deaths last summer during northern Wisconsin floods. They also advised people to stay away from downed power lines.

There was already flooding in Glidden, Wis., on Tuesday, where repaired roadways from the 2016 floods were again washing out.

Tornado strikes

The Barron County, Wis., Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday night one person was killed and at 25 people were injured when a mobile home park in the Chetek area was hit by an apparent a tornado. There may have been at least one fatality, the sheriff said.

KARE-TV and KSTP-TV in the Twin Cities reported the tornado hit the Prairie Lakes Estates trailer park. The park had around 50 homes.

A tornado was confirmed at 6 p.m. Tuesday near Bruce, Wis., about 10 miles west of Ladysmith, in Rusk County, moving east at 30 miles per hour.

Several turkey barns in the area were hit hard.

The weather service advised everyone in the tornado’s path to take cover immediately in a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building and avoid windows. 

Heavy hail also fell in parts of northern Wisconsin.

Fire danger gone

The half inch of rain that soaked the Gogebic Range Monday went a long way toward alleviating fire danger, which had risen to a high level.

Workers at the Gogebic-Iron Wastewater Treatment Plant off Cloverland Drive recorded .48 inch of rain for the 24-hour period to 7 a.m. Tuesday.

That brought the May rainfall total to 2.3 inches, above the long-term average for Ironwood of 1.57 inches on May 16. There’s also been an inch of snow this month.

Following a drab Monday that produced black clouds and considerable lightning, the sun came out Tuesday morning in downtown Ironwood, but more rain arrived around noon.

The east branch of the Montreal River was running at spring snow melt levels.

In the central part of the Upper Peninsula, Marquette received only .01 inch of rain on Monday, bringing the May total to just .46 inch.

A weekend wildfire in the U.P.’s Ely Township burned 23 acres of private land, with the Department of Natural Resources responding with 15 people, three tractor plows and four engines.

Just last Friday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had declared a state of emergency because of dry conditions. The executive order Walker issued calls elements of the Wisconsin National Guard to active duty to assist Emergency Management and the DNR in providing wildfire suppression support.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report

 
 

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