BALDWIN - A 70-year-old man died Monday after his minivan went off the road and became submerged in a ditch as a western Wisconsin village grappled with hours of torrential rain that resulted in home evacuations and heavy floodwaters.
Gary Parent of Emerald, Wisconsin, was driving a Dodge Grand Caravan around 5:15 a.m. Monday when he drove into floodwaters that were sweeping across the road. He lost control and landed in the ditch, where the van became covered by water. Parent was rescued but later pronounced dead, the St. Croix Sheriff's Office said.
The storms swept through the southern Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area before deluging western Wisconsin late Sunday and Monday, where eight families in the St. Croix County village of Baldwin were evacuated from houses near a creek to a community center, sheriff's Capt. Jeff Klatt told the Star Tribune.
At least five motorists were rescued from the roofs of their flooded vehicles on Highway 63 in the Baldwin area, Klatt said.
Stretches of that highway and many other roads and bridges were made impassable, the St. Croix County Sheriff's Office said.
"We urge everyone to use extreme caution if you have to travel," the sheriff's office said. "Be very cautious of submerged roadways in low lying areas and blind corners."
In nearby Pierce County village of Ellsworth, officials said the rain overwhelmed many culverts and caused localized flooding, including along parts of Highway 10.
Highway 29 near Spring Valley was also closed, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
Rain totals included 9 inches (22.8 centimeters) in Glenwood City, which is near Baldwin, and 8.2 inches (20.8 centimeters) in Hammond.
The storms also flooded roads in the Twin Cities area. Water covered streets and intersections in Lakeville, Minnesota, police said.
"These roads are impassable for the time being," police tweeted.
The water began to recede by mid-morning Monday and there were no reports of serious injuries.
In Minnesota, heavy rain caused mudslides on Highway 169 south of St. Peter and on Highway 68 near Courtland, just east of New Ulm, the Minnesota Department of Transportation said.
Flash flooding in has made some roads impassable and has forced some residents to evacuate their home in western Wisconsin where up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain fell by Monday.
Baldwin in St. Croix County was among the communities hardest hit by flooding. At least eight families were evacuated from houses near a creek in Baldwin and were taken to a nearby community center, the sheriff's office said.
At least five motorists standing on the roofs of their cars were rescued from rushing water on Highway 63 in the Baldwin area, sheriff's officials said. Portions of Highway 63 north of Baldwin were washed out, officials said.
In the nearby Pierce County village of Ellsworth, officials say many culverts have been overwhelmed by the heavy rain and that has caused localized flooding, including parts of Highway 10.
Highway 29 near Spring Valley is also closed, according to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning for the area where 4 inches (10 centimeters) to 6 inches (15 centimeters) of rain has fallen.
The storms also flooded roads in the Twin Cities metro area. Water covered streets and intersections in Lakeville, Minnesota, police said.
"These roads are impassable for the time being," police tweeted.
- The U.S. headed into the Fourth of July weekend with many parades and fireworks displays canceled, beaches and bars closed, and health authorities warning that this will be a crucial test of Americans' self-control that could determine the trajectory of the surging coronavirus outbreak.
With confirmed cases climbing in 40 states, governors and local officials have ordered the wearing of masks in public, and families were urged to celebrate their independence at home. Even then, they were told to keep their backyard cookouts small.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - President Donald Trump will begin his Independence Day weekend on Friday with a patriotic display of fireworks at Mount Rushmore, an event expected to draw thousands where masks and social distancing aren't required as coronavirus cases spike across the country.
Trump is expected to speak at the event, which has issued 7,500 tickets to watch fireworks that he says will be a "display like few people have seen."
MADISON, WI - Cigarette smoking rates have dropped since Wisconsin's Smoke-Free Indoor Air Law went into effect 10 years ago.
In 2008, before the law passed, 20% of Wisconsin adults smoked cigarettes. By 2018, the rate had dropped to 16%. High school youth cigarette smoking rates dropped from nearly 21% in 2008 to nearly 5% in 2018.
State cigarette taxes were also increased during this time period and contribute to this reduction.
"Wisconsin is breathing easier today thanks to this law, but we know there are many people in our state who still smoke," said DHS Secretary-Designee Andrea Palm. "We urge smokers to take advantage of the programs available to help them to quit, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people who smoke are believed to be more susceptible to the virus, and can become severely ill with it."
CRANDON - The Forest County Humane Society works around the clock to help animals find forever homes. But taking care of those animals during their stay doesn't just take a lot of time; it takes a lot of money, too.
The shelter got a helping hand, thanks to a $35,000 grant from the ASPCA. It's part of an initiative to help brick-and-mortar shelters improve their animals' quality of life.
Shelter director Angie Schaefer says that money paid for 20 new cat-condos, fencing for two new dog yards, and several other much-needed supplies.
"We're small, we're in a small community, so to raise that kind of money to get these items would have been quite a task. For them to step in and do that for us is amazing," said Schaefer.
Schaefer said the extra yards will allow dogs to spend more time outside and socialize with each other.
If you're interested in volunteering or donating to the humane society, visit its website for more information.
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