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Austin area sees flooding as snow melts and creates pooling

Published 10:55am Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Basements are wet, and the National Weather Service in LaCrosse, Wis., is now talking about flooding.

Though NWS officials weren’t too worried about flooding last week, another 6.7 inches of snow in the Austin area, along with a lot of rain over the weekend, changed that outlook.

“You had over an inch of water between the rain and what’s contained in the snow,” said Mike Welvaert, NWS hydrologist.

Welvaert said river levels are receding; however, standing water in ditches, fields and even across roadways has few places to go as the ground is still heavily frozen.

“There has been a lot of water from the rains due to the ground being frozen and nowhere to go except down the foundation walls and into the houses,” said Greg Viehauser, owner of ServiceMaster in Austin.

ServiceMaster has cleaned six local homes since Saturday, and Viehauser expects to clean a few more.

Another half-inch of snow or less is possible for Tuesday; but NWS forecasts the temperature to be 5 to 10 degrees cooler than normal for this time of March, so melting could be gradual. That may minimize the flooding risk for a while. If the temperature spikes in the next few weeks, though, Welvaert said river levels could spike, and there could be more flooding.


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