The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

State of emergency declared for Iron County, northern Wisconsin


June 19, 2018

Larry Holcombe/Daily Globe

Silver maples lie on the lawn of Carol Mattson on MacKinnon Street in Iron Belt Monday afternoon. Two large trees came down exposing their roots, and a large section of a third snapped off during high winds Sunday afternoon.


MADISON - Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency for five northern Wisconsin counties, including Iron County, Monday in response to the recent heaven rains and flooding in the region.

"Beginning on June 16, 2018, widespread and continuing severe thunderstorms producing torrential rain, damaging wind and large hail caused evacuation of persons, downed trees and powerlines, mudslides and flash flooding," reads Walker's executive order declaring a state of emergency in Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas and Iron counties.

The declaration increases the state resources available to counties in rebuilding and recovering from the storm damage, including potentially calling to active duty and mobilizing "such elements of the Wisconsin National Guard as the Adjutant General deems necessary."

Flash flooding caused extensive damage and road washouts from Minnesota through the parts of the Upper Peninsula as weekend rain totals were as much as 7 inches in parts of the U.P., 10 inches in eastern Minnesota and 15 inches near Drummond, Wisconsin, according to the National Weather Service.

The rain also caused the Radigan Flowage Dam west of Dairyland in a remote part of Douglas County to fail Monday, as water overtopped the earthen dam. Douglas County Emergency Management Director Keith Kesler was unaware of anyone being evacuated due to failure.

The weekend's storm is also responsible for at least two deaths. Thomas Koeper, 75, of Mason, was found dead on Sunday morning about 60 feet from his pickup truck in a ditch along a flooded road in Ashland County

The second death occurred in Sawyer County, when a large oak tree blew over shortly before 3 a.m. Sunday and landed on a camper on Lake Chetac, in the town of Edgewater. The Sawyer County Sheriff's Department said 55-year-old James M. Pluff, of Redwood Falls, Minn., sustained fatal injuries.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder also issued a disaster declaration for Houghton and Menominee counties Monday to allow the National Guard to be deployed to the rebuilding effort there.

The weather service extended the weekend flood warning through Thursday for northwestern Wisconsin and neighboring areas in Minnesota.

Walker directed Wisconsinites needing assistance to go to to find additional resources.

Residents who may have had flood water contaminate their wells or homes are encouraged to contact their respective health departments for possible assistance.


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