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  • The Great Flood of ’08, Continued…

    Posted by Dan from Madison on June 13th, 2008 (All posts by )

    Here in Southern Wisconsin we received an unbelievably large amount of rain yesterday, that did nothing but make lives more miserable for residents in this area.

    I am fortunate that I didn’t receive any more water in my basement, nor did I get water at my place of business.  From what I have seen driving around here, Madison got off pretty well so far (knock on wood).  The only thing that may affect us is that we are partially isolated now.  The interstates running north (90) and east (94) are closed due to water overtopping the bridges.  This will affect my business slightly, as I have freight coming from Milwaukee today that I don’t think will make it.  Speaking of business…

    My job is to sell heating, air conditioning and ventilation parts and equipment.  I am taking a slight break in placing massive orders for motors, printed circuit boards, pumps, furnaces, air conditioners and the like to write this post.  After we dry out a bit this weekend things are going to go nuts.  I have notified my wife already to plan on not seeing too much of me next week.  Gotta make hay while the sun shines, as they say.

    Last night we had a surreal sight – parts of the city of Baraboo had to be evacuated due to the very quickly rising Baraboo River.  How did they do it?  WW2 technology to the rescue!  They called in the venerable world famous Wisconsin Ducks!  For those not familiar, Duck rides have been going on in Wisconsin Dells for decades.  I recently took a duck ride in Philadelphia while visiting a few years ago, and I have seen them in other cities as well. 

    The DUKW was an amphibious vehicle designed to roll on roads or a beach, as well as act like a boat.  Here is the wiki.  There couldn’t be a more practical vehicle to use for the purpose of evacuating people from a flooded mess.  Duck rides are great fun as you cruise down the road going up to 45 mph, and then plunge headlong into a lake.  The driver turns the prop on, and you cruise to the other side of the lake and then simply drive back up onto the land.

    These vehicles are modified from their original form, of course, to allow for tourists and fun seekers to be a little more comfortable than the previous passengers were.  Speaking of the previous passengers, here is a photo. 

    I have talked to mechanics at the places that run the duck rides and they reported to me that since many of these vehicles are over sixty years old they need to very often machine their own parts to fix them when they break.

    Things are quite bad in the areas outlying Madison up here.  To make things worse some are predicting a west nile outbreak like we have never seen.  The mosquitos are going to be unbearable in a few weeks with all of the standing water everywhere for them to breed in.

    Ah, life in the great midwest, indeed.


    4 Responses to “The Great Flood of ’08, Continued…”

    1. Andy Wagner Says:

      You second picture looks like an amphibious Jeep, or “Seep” (swimming Jeep), same concept as the DUKW, but based on the Jeep instead of a cargo truck.

    2. Tatyana Says:

      Don, speaking about conditioning business (a small aside): was on a business excursion yesterday, inspecting newly built courthouse in one of CT counties. There is a cantilevered canopy hanging above the entrance. Outdoors. Installed in it are downlights, access panel, and… a continuous air supply grille. Mmmmm.

      Good luck the next week.

    3. Dan from Madison Says:

      Andy – you could be right about that. It came up on Google images when I typed in DUKW and I admit I didn’t look too closely at it. Here is the page I stole it from, and they seem to think it is a DUKW.

    4. Shannon Love Says:

      We have duck tours here in Austin as well. They have also been pressed into service during times of flood. The wikipedia page is fairly informative.