An 11-year-old boy nearly drowned in a waterlogged Wisconsin drainage ditch before an eagle-eyed firefighter pulled him to safety after another round of storms pounded the southern half of the state. The Calumet County Sheriff's Office said the boy was playing with friends in a flooded drainage ditch after the rains passed around 6pm Tuesday in the Village of Harrison. He disappeared under the water and didn't surface. A dive team, sheriff's deputies, and others searched the ditch and a storm sewer. The boy managed to find an air pocket and was rescued after a firefighter some 30 feet away saw his finger poking through a manhole cover. The boy was taken to the hospital, and authorities said he was alert and conscious after his ordeal, the AP reports. A string of storms began moving through the region last week, flooding streets and farm fields and cutting power.
One man was killed in Madison as he tried to escape from a flooded ditch last week. State emergency officials said 20 counties have been affected by flooding over the last 10 days. Gov. Scott Walker has declared a state of emergency in seven counties so far. Hardest hit has been Wisconsin's southwestern corner. Up to 11 inches fell in the region Monday into Tuesday, forcing evacuations in La Crosse, Vernon, and Monroe counties. The area got another 1.3 inches of rain on Tuesday. The deluge stranded two Amtrak trains carrying about 400 passengers for hours because of flooding over the tracks. Parts of Interstate 90/94 were closed overnight due to standing water on the pavement and highways across southern Wisconsin have been rendered impassable. Some 12,000 We Energies customers were still without power Wednesday morning as utility crews worked overtime to restore service.
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