Northern Wisconsin Dam Fails, Walker Issues State of Emergency in the Area

June 19, 2018 09:48 AM

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker issued a state of emergency Monday in northwestern Wisconsin following widespread damage after severe thunderstorms, overwhelmed the Radigan Dam on the Tamarack River in Douglas County.  


The National Weather Service reported around 4 p.m. that the dam had been breached. Due to the break, a flash flood warning was issued for both Douglas and Ashland counties, along with several other communities all the way to the Twin Cities.

The NWS reported that bridges downstream from the dam have flooded.

CHOPPER 5: RAW VIDEO: Northern Wisconsin Dam Breaks

"We're still looking for high water that's not here yet, with the dam breach a surge is what we're worried about," Chief Mike McMullen said, with the Duxbury Fire & Rescue. "We expect the river to crest in the next day or two."

McMullen added a few families living in low lying areas were warned they might want to evacuate. So far, no injuries or rescue's have been reported. 

Locations that are likely to be impacted include Town Road T west of Dairyland, Swedish Highway at the Tamarack River, Highway T west of Cozy Corner and Markville Road east of Markville. Public Works officials estimate more than a dozen roads or bridges have been damaged and are now closed off to traffic for who knows how long. That presents a problem for Bob Holmstrom, who drives across several bridges to get to his job in Wisconsin. Holmstrom said his boss told employees to stay home Tuesday.  

Holmstrom took his two dogs for a test on Markville Road to see if it was passable. He found it covered with rushing water and part of the bridge collapsed.

"Street crews just put a new patch here last week, from a washout two years ago," he said. "It was a bad storm, they just got it all repaired, and now we are back to square one."

The Tamarack River flows for miles downstream into the St. Croix River.  

The NWS urges drivers who encounter flooded roadways to report it to local law enforcement and turn around. 

On Monday, Walker issued a state of emergency for Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, and Iron counties. The state of emergency comes after severe thunderstorms caused downed trees and power lines, mudslides and flash flooding. 



Ben Rodgers & Beth McDonough

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