Baraboo River gauge at Rock Springs stopped at 9 feet above flood stage; Madison flood warning extended to Sunday afternoon

August 31, 2018

Water in the Baraboo River was so high at Rock Springs the automated water level gauge stopped recording at 12:45 a.m. Friday, with the town basically under water.

The water level hit 27.1 feet, while flood stage is 18.5 feet, the National Weather Service said.

The river was expected to crest at 27.5 feet Friday morning before floodwaters subside, but more rain is in the forecast for the entire Labor Day weekend.

Downstream, Baraboo officials put out the all call for more sandbaggers to shore up property along the river.

Sandbaggers should go to 450 Roundhouse Court to help fill sandbags. Volunteers should bring their own shovels.

The river near Baraboo was at 19.1 feet early Friday morning, and was expected to rise to 23.5 feet Saturday afternoon. Flood stage is 16.0 feet, and the river won’t fall below that at the near Baraboo location until Tuesday evening.

Record flooding happened on the Baraboo River in Reedsburg Thursday morning, when the water reached 21.5 feet, 7.5 feet above flood stage. Water is receding in Reedsburg, but much of the area remains under water.

In West Baraboo, the river was at 9.8 feet early Friday morning, just shy of flood stage. The river is expected to crest at 12.3 feet after midnight Saturday night, and go below flood stage by Sunday afternoon.

In Madison, the flood warning for the Isthmus has been extended to Tuesday afternoon, because of the heavy rains forecast for the area Labor Day weekend.

Madison street closings and flood-prone areas can be found at http://www.cityofmadison.com/live-work/extreme-weather/flooding

“Around 1 inch of rain is forecast Friday night, with another 1 to 2 inches through the remainder of the weekend,” the Weather Service said. “This may result in additional flooding across the area, so be prepared for additional road and/or lane closures.”

In Middleton, damage to residential property has gone over the $3 million mark. The city plans to send building inspectors to homes both to verify damage and to give estimates on how much repairs will cost.

That’s so the city can give an accurate estimate to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for any potential assistance from the federal government.

The latest road closing report shows many state and U.S. highways still closed in the region, as well as county and town roads.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation issued the latest report at 4:30 a.m. Friday; road conditions could change during the day.

State and U.S. roads closed include:

Dane County: Highway 14 from Cross Plains to Black Earth.Sauk County: Highway 33 at Albert Street in Reedsburg and between Wonewoc and Reedsburg; Highway 58 between Ironton and La Valle; Highway 136 and 154 in Rock Springs.Columbia County: Highway 127 from Wisconsin Dells to Portage.Richland County: Highway 131 from Viola to La Farge; Highway 56 from Viola east to Highway G.Crawford County: Highway 131 from Gays Mills to Soldiers Grove; Highway 171 from Highway 60 to Soldiers Grove; Highway 179 from Eastman to Steuben.Juneau County: Highway 33 from Wonewoc to La Valle.Marquette County: Highway 23 at the Neenah Creek bridge 2 miles east of Briggsville; Highway 22 at the Main Street bridge in Montello.Vernon County: Highway 131 between Ontario and Rockton and from Highway S to Viola; Highway 162 between Coon Valley and Middle Ridge in La Crosse County.

Drivers should not drive through standing water or go around “road closed” barriers.

Vernon County Sheriff John Spears said violators moving road closed signs or barricades, or attempt to drive around them, could face fines up to $1,000.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch starting Friday evening through Saturday evening for south-central Wisconsin and southeast Wisconsin in the areas where the worst flooding has already taken place, including Sauk, Columbia, Dodge, Marquette and Green Lake counties.

Flood warnings still are in effect on Madison’s Isthmus because of the release of water through the Tenney Dam, and residents along the Baraboo River are preparing for more flooding due to record high water levels.

Slow, no-wake rules are in effect on the Yahara chain of lakes, which include Mendota, Monona, Waubesa and Kegonsa, meaning boaters need to keep speeds at a minimum, without losing steering, on all of the lakes’ surfaces, all the way through Labor Day.

Rock County has also put a slow, no-wake restriction on the entire length of the Rock River from the Dane County line to the Illinois state line.

Lake Koshkonong is not included in the slow, no-wake order, the Sheriff’s Office said.