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Wet and whipped

Lost livestock, damaged structures and an imperiled bridge were all left in the wake of heavy storms that battered Pierce County this week.

Reports of as much as 6 inches of rain Tuesday night prompted at least temporary closing of state highways and town and county roads in both Pierce and St. Croix counties.

The storms forced numerous Pierce County roads and bridges to be closed, including a bridge near Prescott.

Wisconsin transportation officials announced that beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday, Highway 35 was closed near Prescott amid bridge safety concerns.

The stretch between County Road E and County Road QQ is closed until further notice, according to the Pierce County Sheriff's Office.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation closed the road due to concerns about the Big River Bridge's safety and structure following recent heavy rainfall and high water, a press release states.

Measures are being taken by the transportation department and the Pierce County Highway Department to make repairs, according to the release.

Pierce County deputies helped a farmer Wednesday whose cattle were floating down the Rush River.

Officers evacuated homes in Martell and El Paso along the Rush River because of rising floodwaters. State transportation officials monitored the Rush as it crested Wednesday afternoon.

A section of Highway 63 in St. Croix County had to be closed. So many St. Croix roads were closed that the county used up all its detour and road closed signs and had to borrow more from Polk County.

St. Croix Highway Commissioner Tim Ramberg told of a traveler from Nebraska who attempted to turn around in a driveway when he learned Highway 63 was closed.

"He fell into a hole in the driveway," said Ramberg. The weight of the vehicle caused the driveway to collapse, leaving the motorist stuck and waiting hours for a wrecker.

In St. Croix County, rising water caused numerous problems in Baldwin. An apartment building was evacuated during the night due to water issues. The Comforts of Home assisted-living facility in Baldwin had to evacuate 14 residents as the result of rising water.

Southeastern St. Croix County was among the wettest when the storms finally cleared. According to St Sheriff Dennis Hillstead, the Baldwin area had somewhere between 5 and 6 inches of rain.

In north central Pierce County, there were unofficial reports of 4.5 inches.

As highway crews monitored water damage, checked bridges and posted signs, morning commuters searched for alternate routes to their jobs.

In Pierce County Highway 63 north of Highway 29 and County Road Y were closed. Highway 10 at County Road A also was closed due to rising water.

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