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Weakened levee near Portage prompts officials to enforce evacuations

By Central Office April 21, 2019

Contact(s): Catherine Koele, DNR public information officer, 608-219-9075; Ed Culhane, DNR communications, 715-781-1683

PORTAGE, Wis. - Flood-stage waters weakened the Caledonia Levee along the Wisconsin River near Portage late Sunday and officials in Columbia and Sauk counties have ordered evacuations along Levee Road.

The previous closure of an 8-mile section of Levee Road - stretching from Schepp Road on the west to the intersection of Fairfield Street and State 33 to the east - will now be enforced by sheriff's deputies.

Law enforcement officers are notifying all residents along this section of road to evacuate. The Red Cross has established a shelter for those affected at the Portage United Methodist Church, 1804 Pinery Road in Portage.

The Department of Natural Resources has been monitoring the levees 24 hours a day since the river reached major flood stage around 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

DNR staff assessing the Caledonia Levee, which roughly parallels Levee Road, discovered Sunday evening that areas of seepage had worsened, weakening the levee. Emergency staff have been ordered off the levee, which will now be monitored remotely.

"We are working in close cooperation with city and county emergency officials," said DNR incident commander Rebecca Mouw. "Our priority is the safety of the public and emergency responders."

Last Revised: Sunday, April 21, 2019

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