Flooding possible in Madison again; keep sandbags in place, officials say

October 5, 2018

Madison residents are being told to get ready for another round of street flooding if the current weather forecast holds true.

City officials are monitoring lake levels after water rose on lakes Mendota and Monona by about 5 inches, from rain that fell Sunday and Monday, and more rain will just elevate the flooding possibility.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch Thursday, in effect from 7 p.m. Friday to 1 p.m. Saturday, for counties in south-central and southwest Wisconsin, including Dane County, because of the potential for heavy rain of 1 to 2 inches Friday night into Saturday morning.

The chance for rain continues the rest of the weekend and into next week, adding to the flooding worries.

Deputy Mayor Katie Crawley said residents in areas hard hit during the August flooding should keep a close watch on streets and property, especially in low-lying areas.

“Water is appearing on Mifflin Street west of Livingston Street, and is just starting to appear on Johnson Street at the Yahara River,” Crawley said in a flooding update, the first issued in several weeks.

“We are again facing possible lane or road closures,” Crawley said.

Lake Mendota is 1 foot below the 100-year elevation and 6 inches below the high-water mark from the August rains, while Lake Monona is 1 inch over the 100-year flood mark and 9 inches below the storm high.

Lake Monona peaked at over 848 feet on Sept. 2, during a time when the dam at Tenney Park was opened to lessen high water problems on Lake Mendota. The water overtaxed the storm sewers near Tenney Park, flooding streets and property.

“We are asking people not to park vehicles in low-lying areas,” Crawley said. “If you see water pooling and there’s rain in the forecast, avoid that area for parking.”

The weather service said Madison has the highest potential for flash flooding Friday night because of the recent heavy rainfall and saturated soil.

“Flash flooding is very dangerous,” the weather service said. “You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should flash-flood warnings be issued.”

Madison set up a dozen sandbag locations in the first round of flooding, and those sites are still available for people wanting to shore up their sandbags for the new wave of rain starting Friday. A map of the locations can be found online at www.cityofmadison.com/engineering/sandbags.cfm.

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