After heavy rains and flooding caused mudslides in western Wisconsin and prompted a state of emergency in Richland County, Sauk County residents were getting ready Thursday as water rushed in from the north.
Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency for 13 counties, including Sauk, on Thursday.
One of the communities in the water's path is the village of La Valle, with a population of 366, located on the Baraboo River in northwestern Sauk County.
Business owners and residents made flooding preparations, and inmates from the Oregon Correctional Institution prepared sandbags in the village as waters rose throughout the afternoon.
"It's just overwhelming," said Jean Snyder, who owns Main Street Cuts in La Valle.
As the day went on, Snyder said the water began to inundate the basement of the building she shares with a local restaurant.
"At noon today, when I came to work, the water wasn't even going into the basement area," Snyder said. "Now, it's probably eight to 10 inches in there. They've been down there turning off the hot water heaters and all the breakers."
Now, all Snyder can do, she said, is hope for the best and keep an eye on her neighbors.
"It's just a wait-and-see battle," Snyder said. "The lady next door, she just had a knee replacement done, and her daughter's disabled, too, so we're kind of worried about them and getting them to safety."
On the minds of Snyder, as well as La Valle resident Neal Thompson, were the floods of 2008. That year, rising waters sent more than 23 feet of water into the village on June 10.
"(I'm) hoping that it doesn't get as bad as it did in 2008," Thompson said. "Keeps away from my home and stuff, anyway."
Thompson, who lives close to the river, said he's also been getting ready for whatever the river brings.
"(I've) been spending most of the morning getting all my equipment and stuff out of my lower shed, getting prepared," he said.
Sauk County Emergency Management Director Jeff Jelinek said Thursday that people need to start preparing for high waters, particularly those who live along the Baraboo and Wisconsin rivers, as water rushes southward.
"They got nailed up north -- and that water is going to take time to come down here. It's going to be a couple of days until the river even crests around La Valle and that area," Jelinek said. "So it's just continuing to rise. If you've got issues, now's the time to be prepared."
Jelinek said flooding is likely to originate from rivers and not as much from rain showers.
"We're not looking at flash flooding, but we're looking at all the water that's coming from streams and creeks and going into the Baraboo River, also the Wisconsin River," Jelinek said. "We've really never had it, I've been here 10 years, where both rivers are high at the same time."
According to the Sauk County Sheriff's Office, sandbags were being offered in La Valle, West Baraboo, Lake Delton and Reedsburg.
Jelinek encouraged those living close to the rivers to pick up sandbags to protect their homes.
In Columbia County, which is also under a state of emergency due to flooding, officials also encouraged residents to stay prepared.
In a news release, emergency management officials encouraged people in the Blackhawk Park area near Portage, as well as other low-lying areas, to relocate.
"The biggest concern right now is the low lying roads in the Blackhawk Park area are impassable as the river continues to rise," officials said. "We encourage people living (in) such areas to relocate while they can, as emergency vehicles may not be able to get to them in a timely manner if needed."
Officials said sandbags were available at the Columbia County Highway Shop, located at 338 West Old Highway 16 in Wyocena.
For the latest on weather and flooding conditions across south central Wisconsin, visit the News 3 weather page.