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National Weather Service, Local Farmers Keeping an Eye on Risk of Flooding


"We have a pretty good feeling that there's at least a minor chance for flooding across much of Wisconsin, including the Wisconsin River Valley which would include Marathon County, Lincoln County, south, all the way into Southern Wisconsin," said Jeff Last, Warning Coodination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

This winter has been a harsh one and that's why the National Weather Service is keeping an eye on the risk for flooding.

"If we do have a rapid warm up or that heavy rainfall there will be flooding there's no question about it," said Last.

Heather Schlesser, the UW-Extension Dairy Agent for Marathon County, says the best thing that can happen for farmers is a nice, slow melt, something we've been seeing. "If we do have that flooding then that water isn't going to get into the ground ...we're still trying to recover moisture levels from the drought a couple years ago. So, we want that moisture to get into that soil. We don't want it to runoff and end up in the creeks or in the sewer system. We want it to stay in the fields," she said.

She said winter has no doubt taken a toll on farmers. "We've had barn collapses in the county because of the amount of snow. So there has been casualties both to the structures the farmers have and to the animal inventory," Schlesser said.

In fact, some farmers have decided that they just can't take it anymore. "But, then others, they've got the spirit and they're still with it and they say you know it's part of farming and we just have to hang in there," she said.

But there is some good news at least in the short term. "The forecast looks good in respect to minimizing flooding," said Last.


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