USA – State of Emergency After Floods and Record Rain in Wisconsin

Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, yesterday declared a State of Emergency in Dane County following heavy rains and flooding that caused widespread damages to the area.

National Weather Service (NWS) Milwaukee said that record levels of rain fell between Monday 20 to Tuesday 21 August, 2018. Some areas west of Madison had 11 to 15 inches of rain.

“The state is ready to assist in the recovery efforts taking place throughout Dane County after yesterday’s storms,” said Governor Walker. “I have no doubt the resiliency of Wisconsin communities will be on display during this response. I will be touring the damages from the extensive rainfall and flooding tomorrow (22 August).”


Joe Parisi, Dane County Executive, said via Social Media that, as of 21 August, 125 property owners in Dane County had reported damage. Some residents have evacuated their homes, in particular around the village of Black Earth, where the Black Earth Creek overflowed. Three Red Cross shelters are open to house those displaced.

Dane County Sheriff’s Office said that officers and first responders had been involved in high water rescues. Local media reported people trapped in their homes and cars.

Madison Police said several roads were flooded or blocked, warning residents to “Stay off the roads today, especially on Madison’s west side!”

Wisconsin Department of Transport said that the US 14 remains closed in multiple locations between Middleton and Spring Green.

Rainfall and Rivers

NWS Milwaukee said that areas west of Madison had 11 to 15 inches of rain from Monday 20 to Tuesday 21 August, although figures are yet to be confirmed. The highest ever total for the region is 11.72 inches, recorded in June 1946 near Mellen.

One local observer said that 15.33 inches of rain fell in 24 hours to 21 Aug in Cross Plains, Dane County, Wisconsin.

NWS Milwaukee said that between 20 and 21 August, Milwaukee recorded 2.13 inches of rain, beating the previous daily record high of 1.42 inches set in 1938. Madison recorded 3.76 inces during the same period, again beating the previous high of 1.61 inches set in 1952.

Levels of Black Earth Creek, which runs through the Dane County village of Black Earth, reached record levels. The creek shot up from around 2 feet to 9.73 feet in just a few hours, late on 20 August. The previous high is 7.08 feet recorded in August 2001. Major flood stage is 10 feet.

Levels of Black Earth Creek which overflowed and flooded parts of the village of Black Creek, Dane County, Wisconsin, August 2018. Image: NWS / NOAA

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