Western Wisconsin started to assess the damage wrought by torrential rain while stalled Amtrak trains started running again on Wednesday.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker viewed flooded areas on Wednesday and declared a statewide state of emergency after severe storms pounded parts of the state. Up to 11 inches fell in the region Monday, forcing evacuations in La Crosse, Vernon and Monroe counties. The area got another 1.3 inches of rain on Tuesday.
Two Amtrak trains carrying hundreds of travelers were able to move again Wednesday afternoon after being stalled in central Wisconsin for nearly a day.
One eastbound Empire Builder heading to Chicago and a westbound train heading to Seattle resumed their journeys about 12:30 p.m., a railroad spokesman said.
Rising water from copious rains forced the eastbound train with 218 passengers on board to stop outside of Tomah around 12:45 p.m. Tuesday. A westbound train with 267 passengers on board was stalled near Portage around 7:30 p.m., said spokesman Marc Magliari.
Trains began rolling after Canadian Pacific Railroad made repairs to tracks that it owns and Amtrak uses. The eastbound train was running more than 18 hours behind schedule; the westbound train was more than 22 hours late.
Passengers were joyful to be moving again. “In the dining car, we all let out a loud clap,” said one passenger.
Walker directed state agencies and the Wisconsin National Guard to assist local authorities as needed.
Historic flooding continued Wednesday along portions of the Kickapoo River, according to the National Weather Service. Storms likely will pop up in the area Friday night.