Attacks of Nature: Floods Raging Waters

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

Mother nature is strong, and can surprise us with her force.

That was proven once again in 2004, when several unusual occurrences caused Antigo's most significant flood.

Liz Hayes continues her series, 'Attacks of Nature.'

Toward the end of March 2004, Antigo endured an interesting combination of weather.

First, eight inches of wet snowfall, followed by heavy rain, and then 65 degree weather.

The ground was still frozen and the combination resulted in a total melt and rapid run-off.

Tiny Springbrook turned into a raging river....swallowing businesses, homes, vehicles and anything else in its way.

"This is our home. This is the only place we've been together," said Darlene Kondzela.

Antigo residents were stunned.

"The only thing I remember is seeing white caps come across the house and I never seen that before. Only see that on the middle of a lake, so I suppose we're on a lake," said Jim Kondzela Jr.

The area known as Peaceful Valley became anything but. Several feet of rising rushing waters moved between the 4th Avenue dam and 10th Avenue.

Business and homeowners were helpless.

"We tried patching holes. We have holes everywhere and there's nothing you can do, just wait it out," said Ken Bula, who owned Antigo Signs at the time.

Community members rose to the occasion, filling sandbags to contain the flood and offering support.

About 80 homes and businesses needed inspection.

"Everything was turned off, basically when the flood started. That's what were doing now, verifying the house is safe to occupy," said Jerry Wilhelm, the city's building inspector.

In the end, the City of Antigo lost $191,000. Property loss totalled $750,000.

But remarkably, nobody was hurt.

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