Unexpected flooding causes area businesses docks to float away

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LAKE WISSOTA, Wis. (WEAU)- Heavy rains from last week have caused dozens of docks on Lake Wissota to break apart and float away.

“Everything here floated off,” said Dennis Schroeder, the Owner of High Shores Supper Club. “We've been looking for the past few days. We've been looking to figure out what we're missing.”

The Edge Pub and Eatery on Lake Wissota also had the same problem.

“As long as I’ve been here, that's the highest I’ve seen it,” explained Dan Krajewski, from the Edge Pub and Eatery. “With the water being high, it was up over the docks about a foot-and-a-half, so we had to make sure boats were safe.”

Schroeder says homeowners weren't warned that the water level would surpass its controlled level.

“It went way above where it was supposed to go,” Schroeder said. “We've been told by Xcel [Energy] many times, 18 inches is the max and once it's 18, the gates open up and it won't go any higher. All the docks are 20 inches above, well it wasn’t' enough, and it took off everything.”

A representative from Xcel told WEAU the Lake Wissota water levels are operated in compliance with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, in other words, the lake is measured as a whole and has to hit a certain height before the spillway can be open.

“If they would have gave us a warning it was going to go up higher than normal we could have pulled these back, and it would have been no problem whatsoever. Overnight they raised it a good 6-8 inches.”

So several restaurant and homeowners had to act quickly and are still looking for missing pieces.

“There were a lot of people on hand to help and run boats around too and pick up dock pieces floating away.”

“It happens, but the biggest thing is just warn us and let us know, then we could have done some preventative stuff.”

Restaurants around Lake Wissota say they will be ready for boaters on the lake come this Memorial Day weekend.

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