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Fox River crests in Burlington, flooding problems persist

Roads still flooded in Burlington, other areas
Posted at 6:37 AM, Jul 13, 2017

The worst appears to be over for Wisconsin residents along the Fox River, but flooding concerns will continue Thursday.

The latest observations in Burlington via the National Weather Service shows the river went from 16.15 feet to 16.09 feet Thursday morning.  

Gov. Scott Walker visited Burlington Thursday morning and declared a state of emergency for the area after the slow-moving storm dumped several inches of rain, knocking out power to thousands and closing roads.

On Wednesday night, Burlington Police Chief Mark Anderson and Racine County officials recommended that residents along the Fox River, particularly in Burlington, evacuate before the river crests.

Anderson held a news conference Thursday morning and urged resident not to use water in their home, including taking showers. The water is not believed to be unsafe, but officials would like to give the system a break.

"Be very conscious if you're driving in the city of Burlington ... please be careful, do not approach any water. There are a lot of areas in the city still flooding," Anderson said.

A curfew was issued for residents to stay in their homes and off the roads Wednesday night. He said if residents are on the roads to evacuate, “...we won’t stand in your way.”

“If they are able to evacuate, we encourage to them to evacuate,” Anderson said.

As the water begins to move downstream, there will be flooding concerns in New Munster, Silver Lake, Wheatland and various locations in Kenosha County.

The Fox River was at 15.98 feet in New Munster Thursday morning and is forecast to crest at 17.5 feet. 

The Wisconsin National Guard will be deployed Thursday to help with the emergency situation. Gov. Scott Walker is also expected to visit the area Thursday. 

The four bridges that cross the Fox River in Burlington are closed. 

"Nobody is safe on those bridges with the water that high," Anderson said. 

Anderson stressed that the 911 system in Burlington is still operational even though there is 5 feet of water in the basement. 

Neighbors and businesses along  the river have never seen the Fox this high.
"Its not pretty. It's a good 12 inches down there in our basement," said Yvonne Johnson, owner of Bubba's Brickyard on Pine Street.

The watering hole opened up just last month and now part of the bar is filled with water.

"It's like starting over. All the food, everything has to be tossed. We'll have to restock it like we did on day one," Johnson said.