“It’s becoming a bit discouraging:” Darlington dealing with 7th flood in two years

Darlington Police say they have to close the Main Street bridge due to flooding on the Pecatonica River, shutting down the only crossing point of the Pecatonica River in the city.

The bridge was closed at midnight Thursday morning.

Main Street in Darlington is also part of State Highways 23 and 81. Drivers who normally pass through Darlington on those highways will have to find another route around the city.

Darlington schools are canceling Thursday classes because of the bridge closure, which prevents buses and students from getting from one side of town to the other.

Waters on the Pecatonica River are expected to crest at more than 15 feet Thursday morning. That’s considered moderate flood stage, making this the 7th flood Darlington has seen in the past two years.

“Darlington’s used to flooding, that’s no secret and we’ve prepared for it, planned for it, and respond to it appropriately, but it’s just so strange for us to be doing this again and again,” said Darlington Police Chief Jason King.

This is the SEVENTH time the Pecatonica has hit moderate flood stage (15 feet) in just TWO years; that’s more than the previous 25 years combined. #News3NowThisMorning @WISCTV_News3 pic.twitter.com/xzWSWVidWi

— Christina Lorey (@ChristinaLorey) October 3, 2019

King says the city has seen more moderate flooding of 15 feet or more in the past two years than it saw in the previous 25 years combined.

“It’s becoming a bit discouraging for some of the community members and business owners,” said King. “Water goes up, it causes damage, the parks crew get the damage fixed, and a month or two later, the water comes right back up and undoes all the hard work they did to get things back up and running again.”

The most recent flood saw the river crest at 14.31 feet just a few weeks ago, on September 14th. The city also saw a major flood in March of this year, when the river crested at 17.62 feet.

There were also two floods last October, reaching levels of 15.42 feet on October 3rd and 13.95 feet on October 12th. Darlington also saw flooding in February 2018 (15.3 feet) and July 2017 (15.35 feet).

“I know it’s certainly becoming discouraging for people, but thanks in great part to the hard work of local officials and volunteers, we just keep rising above it all,” said King.

Get your weather forecast from people who actually live in your community. We update with short, easy-to-use video forecasts you can watch on your phone every day. Download the iOS or Android app here.