The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Storms, flash flooding cause widespread area damage


June 16, 2018

Gerard Lauzon

Dave Zarimba cleans out a storm sewer grate near his home on Ridge Street in Ironwood Friday morning.


Ironwood - Mother Nature followed through on National Weather Service predictions of thunderstorms for the weekend with violent blasts on Friday that caused undetermined damage across the Gogebic Range.

Storms rolled in around 5 a.m. when heavy hail, strong winds and lightning accompanied a downpour. From 3 to 5 inches of rain fell throughout the day, with more possible overnight.

In a heartbeat, U.S. 2 was covered by a foot of water along Cloverland Drive at the Clark gas station by 6 a.m. Friday. Dramatic Facebook posts showed vehicles, including logging trucks, hydro-planing through the deep water.

A total of 1.57 inches of rain fell for the 24-hour period to 7 a.m. Friday at the Gogebic-Iron Wastewater Treatment Plant off Cloverland Drive, and it poured after that.

There were scattered power outages throughout the day, amid the flashes of lightning.

It was eerily dark nearly all day.

Around 3 p.m. in Ironwood, the sky turned black again and another cloudburst occurred, flooding city streets, with more booming thunder.

The Gogebic County Sheriff's Department said north Ironwood Township was hit the hardest and no travel was advised as culverts and road surfaces were washing out. That was before the second blast hit.

"More rain is in the forecast throughout the weekend, so please drive with caution," said road commission manager-engineer Darren Pionk.

It had been relatively dry for the past week across the Range, so the flooding could have been worse.

The forecast called for an 80 percent chance of rain today and 90 percent for Sunday, with highs around 80 degrees.

While rain is also in the forecast for Monday, after that the next five days look relatively dry.

Creeks were overflowing banks and the Montreal River was brown and roaring by Friday afternoon.

Wisconsin 77, near Upson, was closed in the afternoon because of water.

At least a dozen road closures occurred in near Lake Superior, including Lake Road at Little Girl's Point.

Gogebic County Road Commission crews were out placing barricades at shoulder and culvert wash-outs.

Gogebic County road closures and damaged areas at noon included:

-Vanderhagen Road, north of Sunset Road.

-Sunset Road, near Vanderhagen Road.

-Slade Road, at Welch Creek.

-Powderhorn Road, north to Black River.

-Black River Road and city limits, shoulder wash-out.

-Road by Vet Clinic on Lake Road, culvert wash-out.

-Lake Road, north of Sunset, one-half mile wash-out; Oman's Creek, culvert wash-out.

-Vanderhagen Road, at Welch Creek.

-East Harding Road, east of Johnson Road, culvert wash-out.

-Brace Road, at Point, culverts gone.

-Sunset Road, west of Vanderhagen Road.

-Vanderhagen at Lake Road intersection, culverts washed out.

​-Powderhorn Road, culvert failure.

At Saxon Harbor the newly rerouted creeks were holding up, but water was backing up near Lake Superior.


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