Prairie de Chien radio station moves to higher ground - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Prairie du Chien radio station moves to higher ground


The Mississippi River continues to rise and communities along the river are bracing for more. Crawford County Sheriff Dale McCulluck shutdown all river traffic Thursday. The closure is due to high water and a fast current.

Monday, officials closed St. Feriole Island closed to all vehicles or pedestrians. The city council passed a special ordinance that puts a $100 fine on anyone who trespasses onto the island. But one business on the island had to relocate and wound up "in jail."

"The Mississippi River is finally nearing its crest," Norb Aschom said as he read the news over air.

Tune in to WQPC-FM OR WPRE-AM in Prairie de Chien, Wisconsin and you'll hear Aschom daily.

"The Mississippi River in Prairie du Chien is closed, effective today," he said.

In 50 years Aschom has seen ten floods, broadcasting through every single one.

"We're a lifeline to the community, even though it doesn't effect a whole lot of residents. It effects enough that we're passing on vital information," Aschom said.

But this week Aschom saw a change of scenery, his station usually broadcasts from St. Feriole Island, which was closed on Monday.

"For a couple of reasons. There's not real reason to be out there. They waters are high, the streets are covered, we can't ensure people's safety with the debris the coming down," City Administrator Aaron Kramer said.

And that means Aschom and his colleagues are broadcasting from the second floor of the police station.

"It's worked out pretty well except our signal isn't quite as good as it was. We're using remote equipment," Aschom said.

The remote equipment sends a signal back to St. Feriole Island and out to the public.

"One of the guys in the morning said 'I feel like I'm broadcasting from jail though,'' Aschom said.

Still, city leaders and residents prepare for flooding.

"It's coming up we're closing streets. People are sandbagging. We've got well over 11,000 sandbags," Kramer said.

Norb says he'll continue to broadcast, after all, he has a job to do.

"Town being on the bank of the Mississippi river, we all have a connection to the river in one form or another so it's important that people know what's going on in the community. Staying out of the flood zone, staying away from the river," Aschom said.

As of Thursday afternoon the river was at 19.5 feet. It's expected to reach as high as 22 feet by this weekend. That would fall in the top ten worst floods the town has seen.

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