Trempeleau County deals with first floods of year

Trempeleau County deals with first...

INDEPENDENCE, Wis. (WKBT) - Communities in our region are dealing with high water and flooding, and are preparing for what's to come.

Heavy rain throughout Trempealeau county covered roads and farmlands Wednesday, and made its way into a local business.

"A phone call at 5:15 this morning, a neighbor says, 'Bill, you're flooding again,’” said Bill Baxa, owner of Baxa Family Dental in Independence.  "Water was halfway in the parking lot."

Despite the unscheduled appointment with the unwelcome guest, Baxa had a smile on his face.

"In 35 years I’ve only had water in the basement twice. Once last August and now a little bit now in May,” he said. “It was much worse in August.”

He said August’s flooding prepared his team of helpers for this year's round.

"Just to call our friends and neighbors and say, ‘Hey guys, here we go again,’” Baxa said. “We know exactly how the routine works as far as sandbagging."

"This used to be unusual,” Trempealeau County’s emergency management director Dan Schreiner said. “Recently, I’d say in the last seven to 10 years, this has been occurring with increasing frequency where we get heavy rains, flash flooding and roads covered."

At least nine roads were closed throughout the county, and while Schreiner said he hasn't seen much damage in the county yet, they're not out of the woods.

"I always pay attention to the weather,” he said. "Currently we have no area, no space for additional water to go."

He said area rivers are over-full, so he's on the lookout for more rain.

"It just makes a bad situation worse,” Schreiner said.

At Baxa Family Dental, Baxa is planning to fend off more potential flooding.

“We're sand-bagged here,” he said. "If it rains again we're prepared.”

"The next 24 to 48 hours will really make or break this situation,” Schreiner said.

Baxa Family Dental was able to clean up the flooding and stay open for business Wednesday.

They share a building with a Gundersen Tri-County Clinic in Independence, which is closed Wednesday afternoon through Friday because of flooding concerns. Patients with appointments will be seen at the Gundersen Clinic in Whitehall instead.

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