- The Washington Times - Monday, March 29, 2004

ANTIGO, Wis. (AP) — Water levels started going down yesterday after melting snow and rainfall flooded part of this northeastern Wisconsin community during the weekend, forcing the evacuation of homes and businesses.

Many roads remained impassable yesterday morning, and schools were closed.

“It’s the worst flooding we’ve had in about 40 years,” police Chief Bill Brandt said.

Two people suffered minor injuries while helping with rescues, authorities reported.

Runoff from rain and melting snow also flooded areas in northeastern North Dakota, and some people voluntarily left their homes. The state closed a section of highway from Grafton to Manville, and minor flooding was reported along the Red River, including some sections of northwestern Minnesota.

At Emerado, N.D., a town of about 500 west of Grand Forks, Chad Ralph said he heard water rushing when he woke up yesterday morning.

“I walked downstairs and saw about six feet of water in my basement.”

In Antigo, 40 to 50 people had evacuated about a dozen homes in the community of 8,500. Members of a local National Guard unit helped with sandbagging, security and traffic control.

Fire Chief Tim Kluck said yesterday authorities couldn’t tell how much damage the flood caused because the water was still too high.

“The water seems to be receding, but it’s going to take some time before it gets out of the downtown area,” Mr. Kluck said. “We still have a tremendous amount of water.”

Antigo resident Kurt Nurfe, 30, helped pile sandbags early yesterday after being evacuated from his apartment because the water had affected the utilities.

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