Highway crews feel better prepared for next round of rain

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BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - Round two is on the way. Flash Flood Watches are in effect for a large portion of Northeast Wisconsin as more heavy rain is expected to fall Thursday night into Friday morning.

StormCenter 2 has issued a Weather Aware Day.

"Moderate to heavy rainfall is expected later this afternoon and into tonight as a cold front sweeps through the western Great Lakes region," reads the National Weather Service Statement. "The combination of additional heavy rainfall amounts of 1 to 2 inches today and tonight with already wet soil could lead to rapid runoff and areas of flash flooding."

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Rain from Wednesday's storms is still making its way downstream. Green Bay's biggest concern is maintaining the storm sewers and lift stations.

Crews left barricades and barrels out so they are able to quickly alert drivers of road closures.

"The water always starts in the northbound right lane. Then it fills up and you're closing the left lane and then it tops down and you're closing southbound," says Paul Fontecchio, Brown County Public Works Director.

Wednesday's storms forced evacuations and road closures in the flood-prone east side of Green Bay, Bellevue and Allouez.

Officials are keeping an eye on Bower Creek by County GV in Bellevue. The county evacuated some people in the GV area during Wednesday's flooding.

"I do have sandbags made already on our highway shop ready to go,. so if municipalities do need more we'll be ready to accommodate that," says Fontecchio.

American Red Cross disaster teams handed out free flood cleanup kits with mops, gloves, trash bags and bleach.

City and county officials will be on call for flood response.

"We also have on call highway superintendents that will be watching the flood prone areas as the rain starts coming down," says Fontecchio.

Brown County Emergency Management will be working with first responders.

"A lot of it is just the people that are the boots on the ground seeing information that is happening in the county and relaying them to us," says Lauri Maki, Brown County Emergency Management.

For now, it's a waiting game.

"I hate to say that practice makes perfect, but you kind of know what to do after you've done it a few times," says Fontecchio. "You know -- there's not much you can do you, watch the road. You know what to look for, we're prepared for it. We're just ready for it."

StormCenter 2 meteorologists say 2019 could easily break the wettest year record. As of Sept. 11, Green Bay had 35.34 inches of precipitation. The current record is 39.21 inches. That was set in 2018.

"It would be shocking if we didn't break it," says StormCenter 2 Chief Meteorologist Steve Beylon. "We could be at 37 or 38 [inches] by the end of this week."

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