National Weather Service extends flood warning for Madison; rivers in SE WI also still rising

Fox River in Waukesha

MADISON — Showers and thunderstorms continue to increase already swollen rivers and make travel around flooded areas difficult in southern Wisconsin.

Madison is bracing for flash flooding as Lake Monona reached a record level of 7.5 inches (19 centimeters) above the 100-year flood elevation.

At a news conference Monday afternoon, Sept. 3, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin urged residents to check road closures and allow extra time Tuesday morning when heading back to work after the holiday weekend and back to school.

The National Weather Service has extended a flood warning for Madison until Thursday afternoon. The weather service says another 2 inches of rain could fall through Wednesday.

Authorities say there is major flooding along the Baraboo River near Baraboo, Reedsburg and Rock Springs. Moderate flooding on the Fox River was reported near Berlin.

Meanwhile, in southeast Wisconsin, the Rock River in Jefferson reached flood stage Tuesday morning. Officials said they’re expecting it to go up another two feet and crest at some point Saturday. That, combined with the Crawfish River flooding is expected to have a moderate impact in certain areas.

The Fox River in Waukesha was right around flood stage Tuesday; in “action stage” — the lowest impact.

Projections from the National Weather Service show the river levels are slowly going to drop there in the coming days.

Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs offered this update on the flooding that began Aug. 20 in Wisconsin on Tuesday evening:

Heavy rains, strong winds, and possible tornadoes could impact western Wisconsin Tuesday. The National Weather Service (NWS) says 2-4 inches of rain will be common, with some areas north of La Crosse receiving 6-8 inches.

Areas south of La Crosse, which have already been hit hard in the last week, could see 2-3 inches locally. Flood warnings are currently in effect for portions of Juneau, Vernon, Richland, Crawford, Monroe Counties. Flood watches have been posted throughout parts of southern, central, and northwest Wisconsin. If drivers encounter flooding on a roadway, they are urged to turn around and find another route. Never attempt to drive through floodwaters.

There is also a chance for tornadoes Tuesday evening. Tornado watches are in effect for much of western and central Wisconsin until 10 p.m. Tuesday.

Overnight, numerous roads were closed due to flooding and damage. Several areas received 3-6 inches of rain, some of which fell in the same areas that were impacted last week. Damages reported in several counties include:

Vernon County: Another 6 inches of rain fell in the Readstown area overnight. Approximately 10 people were evacuated. Coon Valley was also hit by heavy rains for the second time in a week. A mudslide blocked both lanes of Highway 35 near Genoa for more than hour. The creamery plant in the Village of Chaseburg was closed due to flooded roads.

Juneau County: Juneau County has been experiencing widespread flooding due to overnight rains. The Red Cross is opening up a shelter at the Mauston High School.

Dane County: County officials continue to monitor the lakes. At a briefing Tuesday morning, water levels on Lake Mendota were up a quarter of an inch, while Lake Monona, Lake Waubesa, and Lake Kegonsa were up an inch. Sandbagging efforts continue in Monona.

Jefferson County: The Wisconsin Department of Corrections had an eight-member strike team filling sandbags Tuesday. There are continued concerns about rising levels on the Rock River.

Columbia County: Sandbagging efforts on I-39 resumed Tuesday afternoon with 22 members of the Wisconsin National Guard assisting with the effort on location. An additional 10 Guardsmen also filled sandbags in Wyocena.

County emergency management officials were set to start conducting damage assessments on Tuesday, but those were postponed because of concerns about the weather. Early estimates of damage to public infrastructure from the last two weeks are approximately $51 million.

Private property owners should report flood and storm damage by calling 2-1-1 or 877-947-2211.  Officials with 2-1-1 report they have received more than 2,700 calls reporting damage.

Homeowners and businesses with damages should save receipts and document damage by taking pictures. It is also important to check with your insurance agent. Multiple resources designed to help residents with their recovery efforts are being posted online HERE.

The Statewide Emergency Operations Center remains elevated. The state is monitoring the situation and providing assistance to local emergency responders as requested.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) officials offered this information on road closures:

Crawford County

  • WIS 131 closed from WIS 60 to Steuben. No detour.
  • WIS 171 closed between WIS 27 (Mt. Sterling) and US 61 (Rolling Ground). No detour.

Dane County

  • US 14 closed between Cross Plains and Black Earth; traffic detoured via WIS 78 and US 12.

Juneau County

  • US 12 closed from County N at Mauston to Cassidy Road (three miles west of Lyndon Station). No detour.
  • WIS 33 closed from Union Center to Wonewoc. No detour. 

Marquette County

  • WIS 22 is closed at the Main Street bridge over the Montello River in Montello; traffic detoured via WIS 33, WIS 44 and WIS 73.  

Richland County

  • WIS 56 closed from River Road (Viola) to WIS 80 (Richland Center). No detour.
  • WIS 80 closed between US 14 (Richland Center) to County A. No detour.
  • WIS 80 closed from County DD to County CC. No detour.
  • WIS 131 closed between WIS 56 (Viola) to WIS 82 (LaFarge). No detour.

Sauk County

  • WIS 33 closed at Albert Street in Reedsburg. No detour.
  • WIS 33 closed between Wonewoc (Juneau County) and Reedsburg. No detour.
  • WIS 58 closed from County G (Ironton) to WIS 33 (LaValle). No detour.
  • WIS 136 closed from WIS 33 (Rock Springs) to WIS 154 (Rock Springs). No detour.
  • WIS 154 closed between WIS 23 (south of Reedsburg) to WIS 136 (Rock Springs). No detour. 

Vernon County

  • WIS 56 closed from WIS 35 to Eagle Street in Genoa. No detour.
  • WIS 56 closed from County SS to County S (Liberty). No detour.
  • WIS 80 closed from Pine Hill Road to Kouba Valley Road (south of Hillsboro). No detour.
  • WIS 82 closed between County HH and County WW (just east of Hillsboro). No detour.
  • WIS 131 closed between Ontario and Rockton. Traffic detoured via WIS 82 and WIS 33.
  • WIS 131 closed from County S to Viola. No detour.
  • WIS 162 closed from WIS 35 (Stoddard) to US 14 (west of Coon Valley). No detour.
  • WIS 162 from US 14 (Coon Valley) to County N (north of Coon Valley). No detour.