Durand cleaning out basements as flood warnings approach

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DURAND, Wisc. (WEAU) - With the return of snow, flooding is becoming a bigger concern along western Wisconsin’s rivers.

“It's just getting old and long and is just getting everybody irritable. It's just been miserable,” David John Bauer said.

Just when spring felt like it was here, Old Man Winter returned with a vengeance.

“I was looking for some warmer weather, and green grass and not this stuff, but we have to take what we're dealt,” Marge Berger said.

But for Marge Berger and many along the Chippewa River, white lawns and cold hands are not their main concerns.

“When the water does start coming up, we start getting prepared because we know what to expect,” Berger said.

The longtime owner of corral bar and riverside grill along the Chippewa River in Durand said dealing with flooding is a spring tradition.

“Yesterday we had a big load of aluminum cans that we took, and then they just raise up what they have to,” Berger said.

But across the street, the new owners at Prock's Construction Zone Bar said they were surprised by the rising waters.

I’ve never seen a flood like this. All the people in Durand are used to it, and it's so new to me, and so surprising to me,” Nicole Prock said.

The National Weather Service measured the river levels at 11.4 feet Wednesday morning and expects it to rise another two more feet, going above flood stage by Friday.

“My husband already has been kayaking in the garage today to get to the different areas down there,” Prock said. “One of my customers told me the perch will come up and start swimming in the road ... So I’m looking forward to seeing some stuff like that.”

The flood warning begins Friday morning and lasts through Saturday.
Berger said the worst year was 1983 when water reached the bottom of her deck, several feet above the current water levels.

Flood warnings were also issued for the Eau Claire River near Fall Creek and the Black River near Black River Falls.