, , , ,

Weather Service: More Rain Could Exacerbate Wisconsin Flooding

Wisconsin Saw 16 Tornadoes In Week Of Storms, Continued Flooding

Wisconsin National Guard (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Forecasters say flooding in southern Wisconsin might get worse before it gets better because of heavy rain expected for the Labor Day weekend.

The National Weather Service predicts up to 2 inches in the Madison area and much of the southern half of the state from Friday night through Sunday and up to 3 inches southwest of Madison.

The rain would exacerbate the region’s damaging floods that started with storms Aug. 20.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Meteorologist Ben Miller of the National Weather Service Office in Sullivan said normally those amounts wouldn’t trigger flash flood watches but because the area is already oversaturated it won’t take much for additional rain to cause problems. And Miller said, unfortunately, there’s more rain expected after Labor Day.

“Even next week there’s still daily chances of rain across the state,” said Miller. “We’ve got a widespread 1 to 3 inches across the southern half of the state through the weekend but there could be a few more inches for next week.”

Recovery efforts continue in multiple communities after recent storms brought torrential rainfalls to several parts of the state, causing flooding.

Some areas have seen rainfalls of up to 14 inches in the last two weeks, causing lake levels to rise in Dane County and pushed portions of the Kickapoo and Baraboo rivers to record levels.

People in towns along the Baraboo River were evacuated Thursday. Members of the Wisconsin National Guard assisted with sandbagging operations in North Freedom and Baraboo.

The Kickapoo River in Vernon County has reached record levels, flooding towns along the river and forcing people to evacuate their homes.

Linda Nederlo, the public information officer for the county’s emergency management, told WPR’s “The Morning Show” on Friday that the county is working to clean up these communities and provide displaced people with access to shelter, food and water. Parts of the county are expected to get more rain Friday night.

“I just talked with the sheriff’s department yesterday,” Nederlo said. “Vernon County had over 400 water rescues. And part of that, of course the bigger portion of that, came from Coon Valley. There are some homes, for example in Readstown, there are nine homes that have been totally destroyed.”

Gov. Scott Walker on Wednesday declared a statewide state of emergency.

He’s expected to discuss flood damage in Sauk County on Friday.

The weather service has confirmed an outbreak this week of at least 16 tornadoes in east central Wisconsin.

Miller said the thunderstorm that spawned them was a special type that meteorologists call a quasi-linear convective system. He said it features wind patterns that spawn a lot of short lived, generally weak tornadoes. Miller said while 16 tornadoes in one night is impressive, it’s not a state record.

“There was an event, I believe it was in 2005, where there were 27 total tornadoes across the state,” Miller said.

Several trees were uprooted and buildings were damaged Tuesday night into Wednesday. No injuries were reported.

Editor’s note: This story was last updated at 12:46 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31, 2018 with additional information from Ben Miller. Hannah Haynes and Rich Kremer contributed to this report.