Residents allowed to return home after Wisconsin dam breach led to evacuation – NBC News

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Intense flooding breached a dam in eastern Wisconsin on Friday and eroded the land around it, prompting officials to temporarily evacuate residents who live downstream.

Manawa Police Chief Jason Severson said on Facebook Friday evening that the situation at the Manawa Dam, along the Little Wolf River, has “stabilized.”

The city of Manawa received about 4 inches of heavy rain and flash flooding Friday morning, and soon after there were reports of impassable roads and stranded residents, Severson said.

Once first responders noticed the land around the dam eroding, they began evacuating those downstream, police said. It wasn’t clear how many people in the city of about 1,200 were evacuated.

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The city said residents could start returning home at 5 p.m.

Flooding of Manawa Dam
Significant flooding in and around the Manawa Dam in Waupaca County, Wisconsin, on Friday.WGBA

Meteorologist Gus Kaiser with the National Weather Service office in Green Bay said the rain had stopped and floodwaters were starting to recede as of Friday evening, but that there was still some ongoing flooding directly downstream of the dam, affecting the town of Royalton.

It is now a “fairly stable situation,” Kaiser said.

The city is expecting some flooding over the next several days as rain remains in the forecast and it is working to get flood waters low enough so repair work can begin, he said.

The Manawa Dam itself appears in tact and did not fail, Severson said at a Friday news conference, but there is a lot of erosion on the north side of the structure and in the land surrounding the dam.

Severson estimated about a 50-foot-wide area around the dam has eroded. Dam gates have been opened to relieve some of the pressure from the floodwaters, he said.

No injuries have been reported, officials said.

The flooding also prompted a boil water advisory in Manawa and the surrounding areas due to the severe flooding. Josh Smith, director of public works, said residents should adhere to the advisory until a safe sample is received from the city’s wells.

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