Columbia County flooding still visible one year later - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Columbia County flooding still visible one year later


MADISON (WKOW) -- The anniversary of Lake Delton's disappearance in last June's raging floodwaters was also a time for other damaged communities in southern Wisconsin to take stock.

Former Columbus mayor Nancy Osterhaus remembered the dozens of people who had to be evacuated by airboat as the Crawfish River spilled its banks and swamped many residential streets in the Dodge County community of 5,000.

Columbus resident Charlotte Lang, 92, was one of the evacuees. Lang said the experience was unprecedented in her more than half a century in the community. "Never did we think there would ever be flooding on the Crawfish."

In Columbia County, emergency management director Pat Beghin told 27 News the flood of 2008 is still visible in some places. Beghin said a road in the town of Leeds and some stretches of other rural roads may be abandoned because they remain impassable, with no hope of water receding in the near future.

At Crystal Lake, lake levels remain high, with lake water being pumped around the clock in an attempt to force back the lake's water from surrounding a number of mobile homes.

"There's not much we can do for the seasonal residents here," Beghin told 27 News. "They are going to have to get their trailers out of the water when they can get at them to do it."

Beghin said flood victims in Columbia County have received assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), but the assistance has had limits. Beghin said a community development block grant program has also helped victims, but the CDBG's income limits has left middle class residents with fewer options for help.

Beghin cited damage to finished basements as an example of a cost not covered by most government programs.

Osterhaus said FEMA assistance has allowed her city to recover from last June's flooding. But Osterhaus said the psychological impact of what amounted to a five hundred year flood remains.

"Night before last, when it was thundering and raining really hard, you just look at it differently.

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