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: