Though this summer’s rains have caused extensive flooding in parts of Wisconsin, flooding has always been a part of life in the state because of its many rivers and lakes.

French settlers in Prairie du Chien made one of the first written records of flooding in the state in 1785, calling it “the year of great waters,” Wisconsin Public Radio reported. Several towns along the Mississippi River were completely submerged. It was the first of at least 40 major floods in that area.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker issued executive orders for a declaration of emergency for three counties in the southeast part of the state and 17 counties for the west and southwest regions.  Each of these rainstorm incidents were in July 2017 and many previous river level records were exceeded.