Jack Lillar is one of many residents who lived through Wakefieldâ??s devastating flood 11 years ago. The memory lives with him both mentally and physically as damage still remains from the knee-deep water.
"You could see this line here on the wall, it was the water level from the flood in 2002," said the Wakefield resident. And, he fears it could happen again. "Even though there's an eight foot diameter pipe going out of the lake into an 8x10 channel now, itâ??s full and it can't keep up."
Wakefield Mayor Richard Bolen understands why residents are fearful but believes the experience prepared them for the worst.
"I think because of 2002, we learned a lot of things," Bolen says. "The city staff has been working night and day to take all the appropriate measures. They've done everything, I believe, humanly possible to get us through this."
On Wednesday, thousands of sandbags were prepared to deter flooding waters wherever needed. Now, heavy precipitation is forcing officials to take even more action. In the past 24 hours, Sunday Lake in Wakefield rose almost a foot. City crews brought out three pumps to fight it from rising any higher.
"A 12,000 gallon a minute pump James Loleper, Gogebic County Emergency Management Coordinator, says itâ??s for the "northeastern part of the lake at the dam" in an attempt to "stabilize" Sunday Lake.
The three pumps combined will remove approximately 30,000 gallons of water a minute. But, will it be enough to keep up with Mother Nature? Only time will tell.