OKONTO COUNTY, Wis (WBAY) – A storm Thursday night created treacherous conditions across Okonto County.
Imagine you’re driving on County Road B, and then suddenly the road stops. This was the case after a huge gap in the road was swept away by rain and the build-up of a canal, a tunnel intended for conveying an open stream or drainage under the road.
“Oh crazy. It was just insane,” Porterfield motorcyclist Kevin Schutte recalls, driving around Oconto and Pestigo County during the storm Thursday night, May 12.
Lifetime residents of Okonto County along with Choti say they’ve never seen this kind of water damage on the roads before.
Officials reported nearly two dozen shutdowns and water hazards on Friday. At this point, officials have no idea how long the repairs will take with so much water on the roads.
“I don’t have a time frame as to when these things will be fixed,” Sheriff Todd Scarpan said Friday. “It could take weeks. It could be a month. When you have to replace the sewer and that kind of thing, I don’t know how easy it is to go and grab the sewer and install it. I don’t know how much it is now.”
Governor Evers’ office told Action 2 News that it has not received a request for a disaster declaration from the county yet, but the mayor says a number of local municipalities have issued their own disaster declarations.
Officials reported nearly two dozen road closures and water hazards Friday.
Neighbors affected by the storms say the consequences are unlike anything they have seen before.
The article continues below the video
Neighbors woke up to find their homes surrounded by water
“I was talking to [my friend] Jim in Pound and he lived on Little River Road next to his house there and it flooded across the bridge and maybe 6 inches of water coming in. He had never seen so much water come across the road in the 45 years he had lived there. never.”
Some people in the Okonto region have woken up to massive flooding in their yards.
Several homes were affected by the heavy rain, causing residents to deal with the heavy damage they sustained the night before.
“I woke up, my girls were able to come into my room and they told me there was a pond in the yard, and I didn’t think anything of it. I saw this mess,” said Spruce resident Jenna Hall, when I came out to the back deck.
The mess that Gina Hall described was five out of seven acres around her home in Spruce Town, completely underwater.
In the three years her family lived there, Hall says they have never experienced floods like this before.
“When it rained we had puddles, but not lakes,” Hall said.
Her yard was completely flooded, almost touching her house.
“We saw bluegill fish in our yard, and it wasn’t, so we’re planning to catch it maybe this afternoon,” Hall said.
Hall’s husband spent the day hauling five trailers out of the water, fishing in their yard to salvage tires and other valuables.
Water also destroyed five trucks behind their garage.
Hall was digging into her belly button as she walked through the water, trying to salvage things, like the many birdhouses in the yard.
“Damage wise and the hours we have to put in, I would say we may have come close to $80,000 in damage, if not more,” Hall said.
Now, all they can do is wait.
“We’re just hoping for the best. We don’t know where to go with the water now, it’s the whole property,” Hall explained.
Neighbors on both sides of the Hole house will continue to help each other to try to salvage whatever is left.
The article continues below the map
Because of rising water, a number of highways and roads across Oconto County on Friday evening. (Click on the map to see the full size image.)
Water was still flowing through the roads on Friday
Megan Kiernan and Annie Krall talk about storm damage coverage, roadside cliffs, and families living with a lake outside their homes.
Copyright 2022 WBAY. All rights reserved.