ARCADIA, Wis. (AP) — A powerful storm drenched parts of the upper Midwest on Thursday, flooding creeks and rivers and forcing up to 1,500 residents of one Wisconsin city to evacuate their homes for higher ground.
Police officers in Arcadia, a town of 2,500 residents 100 miles southeast of Minneapolis, began going door-to-door in the rain early Thursday to urge residents to flee rising floodwater, City Clerk Angela Berg said. Up to 1,500 residents were being asked to take shelter on higher ground.
The Trempealeau County Sheriff’s Department said the evacuation was mandatory.
Downtown Arcadia, which sits along the swollen Trempealeau River, has been swamped with up to 3 feet of water and two highways into town have been closed, authorities said. Berg said Myers Valley Creek and Turton Creek overflowed.
Wisconsin activated its Emergency Operations Center and sent a representative to the area, and the National Guard sent three trucks to Arcadia to help with evacuation efforts.
Eva Anderson, who heads the city’s parks and recreation department, said she was worried about her 82-year-old mother, whose house was in the middle of the flooding.
“I’d like to get her out of there because she’d be a little bit scared. I just think she’ll be startled when she gets up and sees water around her house,” Anderson said.
Residents were being evacuated to the Holy Family Catholic Church. Classes were canceled Thursday.
About 85 miles west in Owatonna, Minn., flooding along Maple Creek forced the evacuation of fewer than 10 homes, Steele County emergency management director Mike Johnson said. More than 6 inches of rain had fallen in the area by Thursday morning.
Heavy rain pounded the southern part of the state overnight, forcing some school closures and threatening to overwhelm some water treatment plants.
Rain was expected to fall throughout the affected region on Thursday. There were no immediate reports of storm-related injuries.
Johnson said there were reports of heavy flooding in several nearby cities, including Medford, Blooming Prairie and Ellendale. Several roads were closed in Steele County, and sandbagging crews were deployed throughout the region.
KSUM-AM reported that schools in Truman and Northrop were closed. Officials in Fairmont and Northrup were asking residents to minimize water usage to relieve pressure on water treatment plants.