“Record flooding:” Officials work to assess cost of damage in Kenosha Co., to be submitted to feds

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KENOSHA COUNTY -- Some in Kenosha County Monday, July 17th were finally able to get back into their homes after severe flooding. The water continues to recede, but plenty of work remains.

Officials with the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department and Wisconsin Emergency Management held a press conference Monday afternoon at the Silver Lake Village Hall in the Village of Salem Lakes to offer an update, as the process began to assess the cost of the damage.

All Kenosha County residents, businesses or farms that sustained flood damage are reminded to report that damage to the Kenosha County Emergency Management Flood Hotline at 262-605-7924, leaving a message detailing the damage sustained. Damage may also be reported by email at disaster@kenoshacounty.org. Reporting damage will assist the county in its efforts to obtain disaster relief funding.

"The water just receded. We don't know if the air conditioner still works, or the washer," a Kenosha County resident said.

Kenosha County flooding

Wisconsin Emergency Management personnel announced Monday they're working with county and municipal officials to put together an estimate of the cost of the damage in the area.

According to a press release from Kenosha County officials, municipalities had until 3:00 p.m. Monday to submit their individual estimates to Lt. Horace Staples, Kenosha County Emergency Management director. The combined total for all of southeastern Wisconsin will be sent to the federal government in an effort to receive a presidential disaster declaration and the associated financial aid.

Kenosha County, local and state officials toured the affected areas Monday morning, and assessed damaged roadways.

Kenosha County flooding

Among those in attendance were:

  • Wisconsin State Assembly Representative Samantha Kerkman
  • Division of State Patrol Superintendent JD Lind
  • WisDOT DTSD Deputy Administrator Dewayne Johnson
  • WisDOT Bureau of Technical Services Director Steve Krebs
  • WisDOT Bureau of Structures Director Scot Becker
  • WI Emergency Management Administrator Brian Satula
  • DNR Dam Safety Engineer William Sturtevant
  • County Board Supervisor Erin Decker
  • Wisconsin National Guard Colonel Tim Covington
  • Red Cross Representative Beverly Vaillancourt
  • Department of Natural Resources Representative Joe Liebau Jr.
  • Village of Salem Lakes Village Administrator Patrick Casey

"Gather info. and submit it to the state to see if we meet the $8 million threshold that will activate a response from FEMA," Horace Staples with Wisconsin Emergency Management said. "This is record flooding. 17 feet high. The flood waters have actually reached residences that have never been touched by the Fox River."

Kenosha County flooding

After the unprecedented flooding, some were still in motels Monday while others found shelter elsewhere. The American Red Cross set up a shelter at Salem Grade School -- open to anyone who needs somewhere to sleep and shower.

In a news release Monday evening, officials indicated a "Multi-Agency Response Center" will open at Riverview School at 300 E. Prosser Street in Silver Lake later this week.

Officials said the floodwaters contain bacteria and it's important to take precautions.

"Homes need to get checked out by a professional," officials said.

A new supply of water test kits was expected to arrive in Kenosha County Monday afternoon.

They are being made available at the former Silver Lake Village Hall, 113 S. First Street, and at other area town and village halls, the Kenosha County Center at highways 45 and 50 in Bristol and the Kenosha County Job Center, 8600 Sheridan Road in Kenosha. Affected residents may pick up a kit at any locations. People are encouraged to call head to confirm availability. The county Division of Health will pick up samples for testing at 2:00 p.m. each day this week at the County Center, the former Silver Lake Village Hall and the Salem Lakes Village Hall, 9814 Antioch Road (Highway 83). Collection times and locations for next week will be announced Friday.

Kenosha County flooding

Residents whose wells were submerged by floodwaters are urged to disinfect and test their well water before drinking it. Additionally, the Kenosha County Division of Health suggests affected residents proceed with disinfecting their wells, as water should not be tested until 24 hours after disinfection. A guide to disinfecting wells appears on pages 10 and 11 of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ Flood Toolkit, available HERE.

Kenosha County flooding

"I'm not sure on how contaminated it is. That's why I wanted to get a test kit. The water was over the cap of the well," a Kenosha County resident said.

The county Division of Health on Monday collected samples for beach water quality testing on Silver Lake and other lakes affected by flooding. Results will be reported once they become available Tuesday HERE.

Officials stressed that everyone's health and safety is a top priority. Kenosha County public health nurses were made available beginning Monday to treat people who believe they may be experiencing health effects as a result of flooding. Forty-one vaccines were provided at Silver Lake Village Hall Monday.

Tetanus vaccinations will be available to those who experienced puncture wounds in the floods. Nurses will be on duty beginning at 8:00 a.m. at the Kenosha County Center, Highways 45 and 50 in Bristol; the former Silver Lake Village Hall, 113 S. First Street in the Village of Salem Lakes; and the Kenosha County Job Center, 8600 Sheridan Road in Kenosha.

"We're also providing nurses with tetanus shots and cleanup kits are  available for those who need those items," Staples said.

Floodwater cleaning kits, provided by the Salvation Army, are also available at town and village halls and the Kenosha County Center.

Officials are reminding people to beware of scams from supposed cleanup companies and people claiming to be with relief agencies seeking personal
information. Those who believe they may have been targeted by a scammer should call Kenosha Joint Services dispatch at 262-656-1234. A list of area water damage restoration companies, compiled by the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department can be accessed HERE.

Two extra Kenosha County sheriff's deputies were placed on the west side of Kenosha County to check on residents and respond to service calls. They said the majority of the issues have been people going around barricades, and entering blocked off roadways.

"Do no go around. Do not go through," officials said.

The following roads remain closed due to flooding:

  • Highway 50 at the Fox River Bridge (Highway W) -- which will remain closed until at least Tuesday. Officials said while water on the roadway is receding, the roadbed underheath the pavement must dry out before the highway can reopen.
  • Highway W north of Highway F
  • Highway B from Highway F to Highway AH
  • Highway EA from Highway S to Highway L


Authorities have reminded boaters not to make wakes on Silver Lake and other areas where there are lakeside or riverside flooding. There have been reported instances where waves caused by boats have lapped up to the doorways of homes.

From noon on Monday July 10th until noon Sunday July 16th, the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department responded to 1,263 calls for service, including: 134 reports of road hazards, 86 motorists assist calls, 29 medical calls, 171 traffic stops (inclusive of vehicles that have driven past traffic barricades), 50 service calls, 20 citizen assist calls, eight boating law violations, and 105 other additional patrols.

Officials have asked that citizens traveling in Kenosha County please note that the Kenosha County Highway Department is working vigorously to repair any roadway or ditch line that may have been compromised from the floodwaters. These areas are sporadic and ongoing. Caution while traveling should always be observed.