La Crosse’s thunderstorms flood a family heirloom: the ZYT mobile

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Last night’s thunderstorms resulted in flooding in many areas. For one family, the flooding impacted a family heirloom.

Some cars are more than just a vehicle.

“We nicknamed it the ZYT mobile because of the license plate,” Vicki Markussen, a resident of La Crosse, said about her son’s car.

Cars can be a time machine.

“My mom bought this 1997 Camry when it was new and she held onto it,” Markussen said.

The zyt mobile has been passed down generation to generation. It now belongs to Markussen’s son.

“This is my mom’s old car that she wanted gifted to her grandchildren,” she said.

But last night, as La Crosse County saw several thunderstorms, the car, which was parked in the street, flooded.

“Literally had to watch this flood last night which was very frustrating,” Markussen said.

It’s not the first time the car has fallen victim to street water. In fact, it’s the fourth.

“It flooded while she was visiting us and I could just see her being heartbroken,” Markussen said.

In La Crosse, street flooding following a storm has become more common.

“The drainage system is probably undersized,” said Sarah Rafajko, La Crosse city’s floodplain manager.

The floodplain inventory map shows the city of La Crosse. Areas are marked on the map that are likely to see flooding after heavy rain, but some residents are seeing flooding in areas that aren’t marked on the map.

La Crosse say the city was not as covered in concrete when the system was first installed.

“The development in the city probably looked a lot different. There was probably more permeable area and greenspace,” Rafajko said.

But the city is working on a plan to solve the flooding.

“We’re developing a flood hazard mitigation plan that would allow us to apply for federal funding for flood mitigation projects,” she said.

As for the zyt mobile, Markussen hopes it’ll keep driving forward.

“We just keeping giving it new life and passing it down and crossing our fingers and continuing on with the emotional value that comes along with it,” she said.