Columbus still dealing with heavy flooding

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COLUMBUS, Wis. (WMTV) -- After the Crawfish River flooded streets and homes in Columbia County, forcing evacuations, residents in Columbus are still dealing with high water levels. Many city roads are covered in several inches of water and still closed to traffic.

"Hands down, this is the worst it's been," said Roger Henning, a resident who had to evacuate on Thursday.

Henning has lived on River Rd. in Columbus for six years, and when he bought his house, he never expected a major flood.

"It seems to be happening more often," Henning said.

On Thursday evening, as the Crawfish River started to rise, the fire department told Henning and his family to evacuate.

"The water was coming up pretty fast and we got both of our vehicles out. We had enough time to pack what we needed for a short period of time," Henning said.

Henning and his family stayed with a friend in Sun Prairie for two nights before returning home on Saturday. The street is still flooded, but Henning's house is dry. Unfortunately, not all his neighbors were that lucky.

"There are others I talked to that had four, five feet of water in their basement, and they had to turn the power off," Henning said. "It flooded the furnace, the water heater, washer and dryer, they lost everything in the basement."

City Administrator Patrick Vander Sanden said about 50 people are still displaced, and he is not sure when they will be able to get back home.

"The water is still a little bit unpredictable," Vander Sanden said. "We just at this point don’t know how quickly the waters are going to recede enough to allow people back in."

In the meantime, people can still go to the Columbus Community Building at 161 N. Dickason Blvd. if they need shelter. The city also still has sandbags available for residents who need more.

For now, things are holding steady in Columbus, but Vander Sanden said river levels could rise again as water flows down from the north.

"We just have to be still on our toes to address whatever might come up yet," he said.

Henning said he thinks the worst has passed.

"The river is no longer a threat," he said.

However, Vander Sanden warns residents they will still need to be careful of standing water on city roads even as water recedes.

"It may look shallow but you don't know what you might be getting into," he said.

Once the water is back at a safe level, Vander Sanden said the city can start assessing damage.