HAYWARD, Wis. - Strong storms that unleashed torrential rain Monday night have washed out sections of highways in northern Wisconsin and closed other roads.

The Ashland County Sheriff's Office urged against travel in the county because many local roads are flooded. Sections of U.S. Highway 2 and state Highway 13 south of Highbridge were closed Tuesday.

A woman driving a car was rescued by Chris Peters - whose own vehicle washed down an Ashland County creek in the process.

"We just shimmied our way across the railing. We got to safety. She was pretty distraught, you know, it was pretty rough. Pretty rough for both of us, " Peters said.

Highway 2 near Odanah also suffered serious damage from the rains. 

Rain and wind swept two dozen boats from Saxon Harbor onto Lake Superior and some washed ashore but the marina manager told us six boats are still missing and presumed lost on the lake.

Saxon Harbor, Lake Superior (Credit: KARE)
Saxon Harbor, Lake Superior (Credit: KARE)
Saxon Harbor, Lake Superior (Credit: KARE)

Lake Owen, near Cable, is more than a foot higher than on Monday. "For five hours it was just torrential rain, and you kept thinking it has got to stop any moment now and it just kept coming and coming," said James Bolen, manager of Lake Owen Resort."I’ve never seen a rain like this and I’ve lived here for 22 years, and I’ve never seen it come down for that long or that hard, " Bolen added.Roads in Washburn County near Hayward were also adversely affected by the torrential rains. Emergency Management officials say areas from Minong to Cable and northern Iron County received between 8 and 12 inches of rain, triggering flash flooding. The Chippanazie Creek is threatening Highway 63. "We’re worrying it’s going to cave in (Highway) 63 so we’re going to keep an eye on that and if it starts to cave in we’re going to close it, " said Washburn County Sheriff Terry Dryden.Roads closed or restricted include:

  • USH 53 - 1/2 mile south of the Minong wayside in the north bound lane, the east bound lane (driving lane of traffic) is CLOSED
  • State Highway 77 from Old Bass Lake Road west is CLOSED
  • State Highway 77 1/2 mile east of Frog Creek Road is CLOSED
  • State Highway 77 from Minong east to County Highway M is CLOSED
  • County Highway G is CLOSED
  • County Highway K south from State Highway 77 to County Highway F is CLOSED
  • County Highway M from USH 63 to Highway 77 is CLOSED

The National Weather Service said ongoing flooding was expected in northern Wisconsin with rivers and creeks continuing to rise over the next two days. Areas around Danbury to Minong, Hayward, Ashland and Hurley are expected to experience the most significant flooding. Among the counties impacted are Ashland, Bayfield, Sawyer, Washburn, Price, Iron, and Douglas.Wisconsin State of EmergencyOn Tuesday evening, Governor Scott Walker declared a State of Emergency in eight Wisconsin counties including Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Price, Sawyer, and Washburn.“I express my thanks and appreciation to all of the first responders and officials in the area who are working hard to manage the situation. I am instructing the Wisconsin National Guard and all state agencies to aide those affected by the storms,” Walker said.