Drenching rains of up to a foot that sent flood waters rushing over roads, buildings and railroad tracks eased on Friday, leaving emergency workers and property owners with a giant cleanup job.
Still missing were two boys, aged 12 and 14, who disappeared near a water-filled culvert in suburban Elm Grove on Thursday. Divers looked for them Friday but found no sign before suspending their search until the water in a nearby stream recedes.No other serious injuries were reported from the deluge that left an Amtrak train stalled overnight just west of Milwaukee and caused some buildings to collapse 50 miles to the north in Sheboygan.
Gov. Tommy Thompson, who declared a state of emergency for flood-stricken counties, toured the Sheboygan area Friday, as officials started assessing the extent of damage.
Though the water was receding Friday, The Mill Place shopping center in Elm Grove was still swamped in about five feet of water as business owners returned to check the damage.
Amid the sound of pumps vacuuming brown water from the flooded parking lot, Kevin Benkowski donned a pair of chest-high waders to enter his store, Just Kidding, and film the wreckage for his insurance agent and his lawyer.
"It's a total loss," he said of the store, which sells children's clothing. "Everything's floating."
The shopping center is on the banks of Underwood Creek, which quickly overflowed Thursday as about eight inches of rain poured down. Water in Benkowski's store reached seven feet Thursday, and he and his wife had to be pulled out through windows by rescuers.
Employees of Reinders Inc., on the other side of the creek, were cleaning up debris that washed into the parking lot during the flood, but most company equipment wasn't affected because it's kept in buildings that were out of danger.