Preparedness

Dane County Flood Damage Tops $154 Million; Middleton Businesses Find Creative Ways to Serve Customers

Insurance covered only about 2 percent of the $78.3 million in residential damage that occurred between Aug. 17 and Sept. 3, according to an estimate submitted to Wisconsin Emergency Management.

by Chris Hubbuch, The Wisconsin State Journal / September 6, 2018
Dave Phillips, owner of DC Kustoms on Central Avenue in Coon Valley, Wis., cleans out his flood-damaged business, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2018. Coon Creek flooded much of the town overnight Monday after torrential rains fell in the area. AP/Peter Thomson

(TNS) — Damage from the historic rainfalls that drenched Dane County in the past two weeks have topped $154 million.

County officials estimate 1,544 residences were affected by the flooding, including five that were destroyed and 302 with major damage.

Insurance covered only about 2 percent of the $78.3 million in residential damage that occurred between Aug. 17 and Sept. 3, according to an estimate submitted to Wisconsin Emergency Management.

The flooding also caused more than $39 million in damage to public infrastructure and buildings.

And more than two weeks after a storm that dropped more than 14 inches of rain on the western part of the county, at least a dozen businesses are still closed or operating out of temporary housing and others are working to repair millions of dollars of damage.

The city of Middleton estimated Wednesday that total costs have exceeded $45 million, including $35 million to commercial properties and $4.7 million to residences.

Those damage totals are likely to climb as recovery continues.

“The important part about these numbers is they’re fluid,” said J. McLellan, spokesman for Dane County Emergency Management. “It probably has changed by now. … These numbers are the beginning of a process.”

In Middleton, some businesses, including the Fairfield Inn and Suites and Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse, remain closed as owners work to repair damages.

The nearby Costco, where dozens of employees and customers spent a night stranded in the warehouse as about a foot of water covered the floors, reopened after eight days and incurred an estimated $1 million in property damage, according to the city.

Other companies have found ways to keep the doors open, even if those doors are somewhere else.

About 700 employees of UW Health are working at other locations as the organization works to repair an estimated $2 million in damage to its administrative building.

TDS Telecom lost the contents of a warehouse and field service center in Middleton as well as 10 vehicles, with an estimated $4 million in damage, according to the city.

But the company relocated workers to offices in Verona and Waunakee and brought in crews from other parts of the state to restore service to its customers, said public relations manager DeAnne Boegli.

“We believe we’re on a good track,” Boegli said.

After days of searching, the ANiU Salon and Spa reopened Thursday in the Phenix Salon Suites on Mineral Point Road and Nail Spa Plus on Whitney Way in Madison.

Manager Tonya Cramer said she expects to be in the temporary location for at least a couple of months.

The Primrose School of Middleton has been holding classes for its 130 students in the Blackhawk Church while working to replace drywall and disinfect the 12,000-square-foot building, which was inundated with floodwater and sewage.

“We’re doing everything we possibly can to get the school back open for our families,” said owner Amanda Kienbaum.

Gilda’s Club incurred what could be $1 million in damage when about 400,000 gallons of water poured into the basement of its clubhouse at 7907 UW Health Court.

“It was pretty much a big swimming pool down here,” said Josh Norton, senior water mitigation manager for Northstar Restoration Services.

Norton said it took about four days to pump the water out, and his workers pulled about a dozen truckloads of damaged building materials from the lower levels, which he was attempting to dry Wednesday with 17 dehumidifiers and about 130 fans.

Executive Director Lannia Stenz said the water also destroyed eight furnaces and an elevator.

“But we’re coming back,” she said. “It’s a process and will take us months.”

In the meantime, the cancer support nonprofit group is holding meetings in nine offsite locations and is moving into temporary office space provided by Exact Sciences and Alphagraphics.

Stenz said the clubhouse had flood insurance, but Gilda’s Club is trying to raise money to cover the $100,000 deductible and any costs that exceed the $1 million cap.

She said renovation plans will include efforts to protect the clubhouse from future flooding.

“We’ve been around for a decade,” Stenz said. “And we plan to be around for decades more.”

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©2018 The Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wis.)

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