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District 19

Alder Keith Furman

Image of Alder Keith Furman,
Council President

Alder Keith Furman,
Council President

Contact Information

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

District 19 Blog

Flooding Updating (8-23-2018 - Yahara River, Lake Flooding, Documentation)

August 23, 2018 1:50 PM

I will continue to send out major relevant updates on the flooding, but I recommend watching for the most up to date information.

News Release from the Mayor's Office:

Yahara River and Lake Flooding

Additional information on flooding developments

Dane County Lakes 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 water in the streets is 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. Bag and staff are available at the Tenney Beach parking lot, Commonwealth Development at 913 East Main, the Olbrich boat landing and other sites. The City is taking measures to protect City Facilities as well.

East Johnson St is closed at Tenney Park. Lane closures on East Washington Ave are going to be necessary. Full closure is a possibility.


The City's Engineering Department has been working incredibly hard dealing with the aftermath of Monday's storm and preparing for additional rainful and flood. They have been and will continue to be prioritizing emergencies.

I've been told it would helpful for the residents to document any property damage caused by the storm. This includes taking photos, videos, etc of debris lines on your homes to show how high the water got, noting water in basements and garages or other structural damage. This is especially important in areas where the street flooded and that is how water got into the house.

Engineering is also acutely interested in noting sanitary sewer backups, areas where vehicles have stalled, roadways that are/were impassable and of course large damage such as the damage that was caused by the overflow in drainage ditchs that runs to ponds.

This information will help with planning and prioritizng needs across the city. Engineering has already planned future projects within the drainage basin, but identifying and gathering information early helps them immensely.

Information can be shared with Please include your address.

I can't stress enough though that they are in emergency response mode right now. They may not be able to respond in a timely manner but do want to get information.

Property owners are also advised to call 2-1-1 with details and documentation to report damages. 

If there is anything I can do to help, feel free to reach out:

-Keith F

Tags: stormwater

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