Concern grows as more rain pours on SE Wisconsin: ‘Lakes are running high; our rivers are swollen’

WEST BEND -- Law enforcement officials asked the public to please avoid going near bodies of water until the weather settles down, since heavy rain and tornadoes battered southern and central Wisconsin starting on Aug. 20.

"Our lakes are running high. Our rivers are swollen. Currents are up," said Detective Chris Killey of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

It was a soggy warning for those looking to get out on the water.

Milwaukee River

"Conditions are much, much -- vastly different than what we've had in the past," said Killey.

Killey is part of the Washington County Sheriff's Office's Dive Team.

Milwaukee River

Detective Chris Killey of the Washington County Sheriff's Office

"We have an eight-member Dive Team comprised of sheriff's department staff," said Killey.

The team was called upon Sunday, Sept. 2, after a group of eight kayakers overturned in the Milwaukee River. Two people were swept away.

"It didn't rise to the level of needing a dive response, likely because the individuals were wearing appropriate life jackets," said Killey.

The life jackets saved their lives, but with more rain on the way, those on land were also keeping their eyes on the water Monday, Sept. 3.

Milwaukee River, Thiensville

"A little bit of concern last week. Less concern right now. I wait to get worried until my bosses tell me to get worried," said Sarah Friberg at Fiddleheads Coffee Shop in Thiensville.

Milwaukee River, Thiensville

Last week, the coffee shop was surrounded by sandbags. On Monday, they were taking their chances.

"We were just joking, we were going to keep a tally on it -- how many people mentioned the river before they got their coffee in the morning," said Friberg.

Those near the water had this warning for those looking to get wet -- don't. Just stay indoors and avoid it, so you do not have to call on the Dive Team for help.

"I've never had to go to a dive call where somebody was wearing a life jacket," said Killey.

Milwaukee River

Milwaukee River

Another water rescue happened Wednesday, Aug. 29. A pair of kayakers overturned in Cedar Creek. They were found down river -- hanging onto a tree. One man was taken to the hospital -- and received treatment for non-life threatening injuries.