Heavy rains causing Fox River in Kenosha County to crest

KENOSHA COUNTY (WITI) — With the recent stretch of heavy rains and snow melting, the Fox River in Kenosha County is beginning to crest. Kenosha County residents affected by flooding should be aware of the health and safety hazards associated with rising water from rivers, creeks and ravines.

“Flood waters are unsafe, and residents should take heed of the dangers before attempting to re-enter their homes or assess damages. Flood waters should never be considered for recreation. Swift and variable river currents along with potential health and safety hazards created from floating or buried objects, damaged electrical systems, or contamination due to decreased sanitation provide an extremely dangerous environment,” Cynthia Johnson, Health Officer/Director, Kenosha County Division of Health said.

The Kenosha County Division of Health reminds all Kenosha County residents affected by
flooding of the following safety measures and considerations:

  • Stay away from rising river waters and remember that even shallow, standing
    water presents potential risks/hazards.
  • Wear boots or waders if you must expose yourself to flood waters.
  • If there has been a backflow of sewage into your home, wear rubber boots and
    waterproof gloves during clean-up and disinfect contaminated household
    materials.
  • Consult your utility company before you attempt to use water damaged
    appliances to avoid electrocution.
  • Portable generator exhaust contains deadly carbon monoxide gas – only use a
    generator if you can vent its exhaust safely.
  • Call the Kenosha County Division of Health or your healthcare provider for a
    tetanus vaccine if you receive an open wound from a flood water contaminated
    object.
  • Test your well water for contamination if you live in a flooded area. (Note:
    Water testing kits are available at the Kenosha County Division of Health, 8600
    Sheridan Road, Suite 600, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through
    Friday).

Additionally, Kenosha County Executive on Thursday declared a state of emergency for parts of the county.

The Emergency Declaration states:

“The Fox River, which lies in Western Kenosha County, is currently at 13.19 feet. The flood stage is 10 feet, and, per the National Weather Service, the Fox River is predicted to crest on Saturday, April 20th at 14.9 feet. This imminent rapid rise in the levels of the Fox River will result in dangerous flooding conditions for those residents living along or near the Fox River in the Towns of Wheatland and Salem and the Village of Silver Lake. Residents whose homes are along the Fox River south of Highway 50 and North of Highway F are strongly urged to evacuate low-lying areas until river levels recede. Additionally, there is flooding on the Kilbourne Creek impacting the Pleasant Prairie Mobile Home Court, which is being evacuated.”  

All residents with storm or flood damages are asked to call Kenosha County Emergency Management’s Damage Hotline at 262-605-7924, to report their flood/storm damages.  This information will be utilized for a Damage Report that will be sent to Wisconsin Emergency Management to determine what resources and assistance is available to Kenosha County residents.

Residents with contaminated wells from floodwaters should have their wells tested before resuming use of their water.  Floodwaters can contain bacteria and waste contaminants that threaten water supplies.  Kenosha County Division of Health is making free well test kits available to residents whose wells have been contaminated by flood waters.  The free well test kits are available from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Kenosha County Division of Health, Kenosha County Job Center, 8600 Sheridan Road, Suite 600, Kenosha,
  • Kenosha County Department of Human Services/Kenosha County Department of Planning and Development, Kenosha County Center, 19600 75th Street, Bristol.

For further information about health and safety hazards related to flooding and recommendations for clean-up, please contact the Kenosha County Division of Health at (262) 605-6700 or visit the website at www.KenoshaCounty.org.

The American Red Cross has established a temporary shelter for area residents at Christ Lutheran Church, 24929 75th St., Salem. Residents who are in need of temporary shelter can contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-236-8680.

County Highway Commissioner Gary Sipsma said sandbags are available at the Wilmot Gravel Pit, 32515 116th St.  Department of Public Works Employees and Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department Inmates assigned to the Work Crew are filling as many sandbags as possible.  People can call 262-857-1870 to check on the availability of sandbags. People may fill their own bags at the Wilmot Pit if crews are not able to keep up with demand.

Several road closures have been announced as the result of flooding. County Highway H, from County Highway S to County Highway L, is closed due to water on the road.   County Highway EW, from County Highway JB to County Highway NN, is closed due to a culvert failure.

Traffic control is being staged at State Highway 50 near the Fox River, in the Town of Wheatland.  Officials expect to close Highway 50 if the Fox River does rise to expected levels. State Highway 75, near the Bong Recreational Area, has been re-opened.  The threat of the Vern Wolfe Lake Damn failing has been reduced due to water levels being lowered in the lake over the past couple of days.  “Kenosha County Public Works is doing everything we can to keep the motoring public safe and informed during this rainy period,” Sipsma said.

Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth would like to urge motorists to avoid flooded areas.  If they do choose to drive through flooded areas they should proceed with caution.  Cars can lose traction and steering ability when driving through deep water.  Additionally, cars may stall in deep water if the engine compartment or air intake gets too much water in it.  This can cause permanent damage to cars engine and leave motorists stranded.  If someone gets stuck in deep water in their vehicle they should call for help.

“We do not want anyone getting washed into a stream or river due to swift currents,” Sheriff Beth said.

“Petrifying Springs Park in the Town of Somers, along with the Carlisle Family Dog Park, located at Petrifying Springs, will be closed at least through Monday,” said Jonathan Rudie, Kenosha County Parks General Manger. The Pike Creek has overflowed its banks and flooded the park.  Also, the Artesian drinking well in Area 1 will be closed until the water can be tested for safety.

Fox River Park (Town of Salem) remains open, but portions of the Disc Golf Courses are closed due to flooding, Rudie said.

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