City of Madison, County officials monitor lake levels as more rain forecast

Monday, June 25, 2018 - 4:48pm

A wet spring has caused water levels in our lakes to rise.  More rain is expected on Tuesday and some storms may be heavy with amounts over 1" possible.  Lake levels have been stable over the last few days but are expected to rise with additional precipitation.  

The lake levels as of Monday morning are at 847.07 on Lake Monona and 851.09 on Lake Mendota. The 100-year levels for each are 847.70 and 852.80, respectively. This means there is approximately 8 inches on Lake Monona before we reach the 100-year flood elevation and less than two feet on Lake Mendota before we reach the 100-year flood elevation.  More information and updates on the lake levels may be found on the Dane County website.

There are many areas in the City that drain to Lake Monona and Starkweather Creek which have ground elevations only 2 feet above the 100 year flood elevation.   With lake levels high, especially Lake Monona, the underground storm sewer system is not going to be efficient as the system is currently inundated with the water from the lake.  This is especially problematic during extreme rain events as water will drain away slower and we expect to see flooding and standing water in areas.   

Madison residents in flood prone areas may be able to protect their property with free sand and bags provided by the City at the following locations:

  • Engineering Service Building - 1600 Emil Street
  • Olin Park Parking Lot - 1155 Olin-Turville Court
  • Olbrich Park Boat Launch Parking Lot - 3527 Atwood Avenue
  • Spring Harbor School Parking Lot - 1918 Norman Way
  • Tenney Park Beach Parking Lot - 1254 Sherman Avenue
  • Thut Park - 2630 Nana Way
  • Warner Park Beach Parking Lot - 1101 Woodward Drive

Residents are advised to bring their own shovel to assist with loading sand into the bags.

General Flooding Mitigation and Preparedness Tips:

  • Have access to resources to reliably obtain weather information and receive flooding alerts if they are issued (i.e. NOAA weather radio, TV, social media, access to weather apps or other internet resources)
  • Have an emergency kit with the essentials (i.e. minimum of 3-7 days of nonperishable food items and water for both you and your pets, battery-powered radio, extra batteries, charging devices, flashlights, tools, extra clothing, basic medical supplies etc.) 
  • Clear out essential property in basements or known-flooding locations 
  • Turn off utilities in flood-prone areas if safe to do so when a flood is imminent
  • Move indoor valuables to higher elevations or floors
  • Store essential information in waterproof containers (i.e. medical documents and immunization records, insurance information, passports, IDs, social security cards, etc.)
  • Remove debris and other objects from storm drains and gutters
  • Consider buying a battery-powered sump pump 
  • Remember to "Turn Around, Don’t Drown!"
  • Know that the ground is saturated and lake levels are high so small amounts of additional rainfall can cause problems, especially in low-lying locations or areas known to frequently flood
  • Check that your sewer backflow preventer is functioning. If you experience sewer backups, contact Engineering Operations at 608-266-4430. Please see the Sewer Maintenance brochure for additional information.  Consider adding insurance for sanitary sewer backups to your policy which is available through many insurance companies.  

For additional information, please see FEMA’s How to Prepare for a Flood and FEMA’s Protecting Your Home and Property from Flood Damage