Arcadia (WQOW) - Seven years after a flood forced two-thirds of a Wisconsin city to evacuate, several residents were forced to do it all over again.
Steven Horton, of Arcadia, said, "2010 was not this bad – as far as the water height. 2010, it took half of the road. 2017, it's taken the whole road and then some."
Seven and a half inches of rain in just a few hours will do that. “My fiance woke me up about 10:30, 11:00, and said, 'Hey the water's coming up in the backyard,” Horton said. “I was awake the remainder of the time, watching it, and the water started coming up and up and up. We moved to higher ground where it was safe, sat and watched it and watched it and prayed that everything was going to be okay -- thankful for the good Lord."
Wednesday night's barrage of rain came so fast it breached the dike running along the Turton Creek.
Fritz Conrad, of Arcadia, said, “It come over the top of the dike – I'd say it was 18 inches deep when it crested the top of the dike. From the top of the dike to the level of the creek, 8 feet to 12 feet.”
Water likes to go to the lowest place it can; in this case, that meant the basement of Conrad's mother's place. “We had about 8" to 9" of water run through the complete house,” Conrad said.
The flooding wasn't unique to the Conrad's. Think of Arcadia like New Orleans. A large portion of both cities sits below a dike. So, people blocks away from the Turton Creek are also dealing with the damage.
Arcadia Mayor Rob Reichwein said city crews fixed a different creek where the last flood happened, but they don't have the resources to fix both. "This event was really a one creek problem. We fixed the other creek problem, which really held up well during this event. However, with this one, we still need some help with," Mayor Reichwein said. "We're looking at some state funding to help us out. By God, you'd hate this as an advertisement, but we can use it."
Mayor Reichwein said at least one home in the area is no longer safe to live in, and 18 people were forced to take shelter in area emergency centers.
Conrad said there's only so much you can do to keep safe. “We safeguarded the railroad bridge down in the business district. We held there, we didn't hold here," he said.
The question now isn't if this will happen again but when.
“This will be the 9th time that it's been out of its banks this year, as far as the actual creek coming out of its banks up on the other side of the road,” Horton said. “The ground is so saturated the water has nowhere to go. It's just seeping back out, throughout the holes. It's just incredible."
The American Red Cross has four shelters open to assist victims throughout southern and northeast Wisconsin. Snack and meals, as well as a place to stay, are being provided. Volunteers are also giving out comfort kits with personal items, like toothbrushes and deodorant.