City of

District 11

Alder Arvina Martin

Image of Alder Arvina Martin,
Council Vice President

Alder Arvina Martin,
Council Vice President

Contact Information

Home Address:

4901 Waukesha Street
Madison , WI 53705

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Martin’s Blog

Flooding Updates, Thursday, 8/23

August 23, 2018 1:40 PM

Hello everyone,

We are likely to see more rain tomorrow. I'm including several updates here, so be prepared for lots of information.

For the most up to date information, please see the City's Flood Updates (for things like road closures, cleanup information, and Metro Transit disruptions):


Dane County Lake management is forced to increase the amount of water coming out of Lake Mendota at the Tenney Dam and that is taking place now.  In addition, they intend to open the locks channel to release more water this afternoon.  At this point, Dane County staff is estimating that the Yahara River through the isthmus will go up another 3" to 6" over the next 24 hours.  Yesterday it went up about 5 inches.  A three inch rise is expected for Lake Monona over the next 24 hours. 

The level of the water in Lake Mendota has to be brought down to provide room for the rains that are predicted Friday and into next week.  If this isn't done, the dam at Tenney would almost certainly be compromised.  A failure of the dam would cause devastating flooding along the Yahara River, in the isthmus and the lands surrounding Lake Monona. 

Certain low lying areas of the isthmus are now at the same elevation as the elevation of the Yahara River.  What that means is that the puddles in the streets are a back water of the Yahara River.  The storm inlets and pipes are the only way to drain the street.  When it rains, instead of water draining into a dry pipe, the water entering the pipe has to push water out of the pipe.  This makes the storm sewer much less efficient.  The rain predicted for Madison on Friday and into next week is a significant concern.  Urban flash flooding will occur more readily if the rain that falls is intense.  More rain will only make the Yahara River and the Madison lakes rise further.  Residents should avoid parking in low lying areas.  The City is making sand and sand bags available for residents and business owners to fill and use to protect their property.  The City is taking measures to protect City Facilities as well.


If you live in a low lying area, the city is able to provide sand and bags for residents. Bring your own shovel to any of the sites listed here to get them:

Odds and Ends Items

The following is information from Dane County's Emergency Management Office:

"FEMA money" - There is a complicated but defined process to determine eligibility for federal assistance programs.  The programs themselves vary from unemployment and food assistance to low interest loans (the most prevalent form of individual assistance) to the highly prized grant monies.  Individuals seeking individual assistance from the government will have to invest time and effort to be eligible for that assistance.  

Insurance -  Many people have lost lots of personal items varying from family heirlooms to 72" flat screen TVs.  Furnaces, hot water heaters, water softeners, and other household elements will also be damaged. The vast majority of insurance policies do not cover flooding damages (from either storm or sewer).  If citizen's insurance does cover flooding, it is generally because they have purchased specific riders for flooding or sewer back-up. The big problem is that most citizens don't know their insurance doesn't cover flood damage until after they file their first claim for flood damage.

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