Déjà vu in Buffalo County as second storm increases flooding costs

BUFFALO CO, Wis. (WEAU) -- The cost of flooding in Buffalo County is racking up as a second storm forces families out of their homes and causes more damage.

Last Thursday a storm swept through Buffalo County, dumping almost 7 inches of rain in some areas and creating more than $1.4 million in public damages.

In towns like Gilmanton damage to private homes is escalating as well, and has forced families out of the area.

“Two times in a row, it kind of hits somebody hard but there's nothing we can do about it,” said James Schneider who was displaced from his Gilmanton home on Thursday.

Schneider says the combination of the two storms has been costly and left him concerned.

“I'm afraid every time it rains this is what's going to happen,” Schneider added.

Gilmanton homeowner Judy Laehn says after already watching as priceless pictures washed away; along with expensive appliances, it’s hard to do it all over again.

“The first time around we lost everything in the basement which was all my husband’s tools, washer, dryer, freezer, furnace, hot water heater, and we had to take everything out,” explained Laehn. “All that work and now we have to start over and see what happens.”

Buffalo County Administrator Sonya Hanson says without even counting private damages, public cost estimates just from the storm on August 11th are extreme.

“It caused a lot of bridges, road wash outs, and culverts. We estimated that there was probably $1.4 million dollars of public damage that's been done.”

If drivers spot road closer signs Hanson says they need to make sure to obey them, even if the road looks clear, for their own safety.

Hanson added, “Please don't drive over the water that's standing in the roads or running in the roads because you don't know what the condition is underneath the roads.”

While those living in Alma may only be seeing the much milder effects like faster currents or murkier water Hanson says it’s good for the whole are to remain aware of the storm’s impact.

“If you don't need to travel within Buffalo County please don't travel,” she added.

Buffalo County says it expects personal damage to individual homes to run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars once numbers come in from both storms.

Hanson also said the county is encouraging people to call 211 to report their damage because “federal and state assistance is based on the reported numbers.”

The county does ask homeowners get their well water checked before drinking it and have proper storm clean-up kits. Free kits are provided at the department for both water checks and storm cleaning.

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