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As Lake Levels Rise, Madison Prepares For More Road Closures

Major Thoroughfares In Madison Closed Due To Rising Floodwater

A flooded street in Madison
Water from the Tenney Park Lagoon covers East Johnson Street — a main thoroughfare — on Madison’s near east side Thursday morning after near record flooding Monday, Aug. 20, 2018.  Jenny Peek/WPR

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Phillips added that “Dane County has increased the release rate out of the Tenney Dam to protect the integrity of the dam. Dams have to be protected by managing lake levels; if it were to fail it would have a catastrophic event far worse than we’re experiencing now”

City officials are urging motorists not to drive through standing water; to park on high ground; and avoid driving to work during peak commuting hours if possible.

“To every extent possible we’d like to encourage businesses to allow their employees to have some type of flex hours because the more you can avoid those hours the better it’s going to be for everybody,” said city of Madison traffic engineer Brian Smith.

The Tenney Park Lagoon — in between Madison’s Lakes Mendota and Monona — spills onto East Johnson Street on the morning of Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018 after near record flooding Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. Jenny Peek/WPR

On Wednesday afternoon, Dane County Emergency Management began urging communities along the chain of Yahara Lakes to be prepared for flooding. Emergency managers said the levels on the Yahara Lakes have been steadily increasing since the heavy rain fall.

Downstream of Lake Mendota, the levels are expected to continue to go up. As of Wednesday afternoon, officials predicted the levels could rise another 3 to 6 inches in the next 24 hours in places along Lake Monona, Lake Waubesa and Lake Kegonsa.

A slow-no-wake restriction remains in effect for Lakes Mendota, Monona and Waubesa.

On Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, water continues to rise in the Yahara River in Madison after a flash flood on Monday, Aug. 23, 2018. Jenny Peek/WPR

The city of Monona and Town of Dunn may also experience flooding in the next few days. Some state highways remain closed, including Highway 14 from Middleton to Black Earth.

Gov. Scott Walker viewed flood damage in Dane County from the air on Wednesday and plans to view it on the ground on Thursday. Walker has declared a state of emergency in the flood-stricken county.

The deluge of rain on Monday prompted evacuations and left at least one person dead in the county.

For up-to-date information on road closures, visit the cityofMadison.com/flooding.

On Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, the Yahara River in Madison overflows its banks after heavy rainfall Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. Jenny Peek/WPR

On Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, a bike path going through Madison’s Tenney Park is submerged in flood water after near-record rainfall Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. Jenny Peek/WPR

On Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018, the Yahara River in Madison overflows its banks into Tenney Park after heavy rainfall and flooding. Jenny Peek/WPR

Editor’s note: This story was last updated at 3:45 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018 with information from a city of Madison press conference. Jenny Peek, Andrea Anderson and Shamane Mills contributed. Content from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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