Flooding turns deadly in northern Wisconsin

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Photo credit Wisconsin Department of Transportation

One person died in the massive flooding in Wisconsin and Minnesota over the weekend, as many residents continue struggling around the damage. 

Seven to 12 inches of rain fell in northern Wisconsin, prompting Flash Flood Warnings and causing road closures and road washouts in several areas. Douglas, Ashland, Bayfield, Price, Iron and Sawyer counties received the most damage, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

"It's the worst I've ever seen," said Mary Wade with the Log Cabin Store & Eatery, which she and her husband have owned for 40 years. The two reported a foot of rain in their home gauge since Friday.

"We live in sand country, so a lot of the water absorbs, but it just came down too hard, too fast. We couldn't handle all that."

At 6:09 a.m. Sunday, the Ashland County sheriff’s office received a report of a pickup truck in a ditch on County Trunk E, just south of County Trunk C in White River Township, Wisconsin. 

Deputies responded to the scene and found the pickup truck in the water with the driver’s side open and unoccupied. The truck was in park and the keys had been removed from the ignition. The water was approximately six to eight feet deep in the ditch of the driver’s side of the truck. 

First responders located the body of the driver approximately 60 feet from the truck. The driver has been identified as Thomas Koeper, 75, of Mason. 

Roads remain closed in Wisconsin, including sections U.S. Highways 2, 35, 53, 63 and 137. Several rivers including the Nemadji and Brule Rivers are running high and are flooding.