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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

Report Your Storm-Related Problems to City Engineering!

November 27, 2018 4:04 PM

In case you didn't see the Waterways 2018 newsletter produced by the Stormwater Utility and Sewer Utility that was recently mailed out, I wanted to share an article on the historic flooding Madison experienced.  

The most important message in the article is you should report all storm-related problems using a newly launch website:

Note: This reporting is not the same as the FEMA application for reimbursements. You can contact FEMA at www.disasterassistance.govIf you have previously reported damage via 2-1-1 or via e-mail with city staff, you should still use this new website to report your damage.


Historic Flooding in Madison:  Cleaning Up, Moving Forward from Summer Storms

Report Your Storm-Related Problems to City Engineering

By Greg Fries, Engineering Division

The historic flooding in Madison and surrounding areas this summer points to the need to reconsider how we, as a community, design new developments, manage our lakes and think about the extremes of our weather patterns now and in the future. The first step is to document all the problems that were experienced during the August 20th storm and the days that followed, as lake levels rose and Lake Monona flooded downtown Madison. City Engineering received hundreds of contacts as a result of this storm, but we know it is not a complete list.  

We want to know about storm-related problems you experienced. If you haven't reported your flooding issue, please report at: If you have already reported via 2-1-1 or other means, City Engineering would appreciate you re-reporting your flood concern through the portal to ensure that we have accurate and complete information.

The most severe storm that hit on August 20th dumped approximately 10 inches or more on the west side of Madison and Dane County. This rain happened over a span of approximately eight hours and qualifies as a 1000-year, or historic event. But what does that mean?

Engineers often use the term "100-year storm event" to describe an intense storm. This term offers little comfort when you may have been impacted by two in the same year. A short explanation of this term is, according to historical data about rainfall, the probability of Madison receiving 6.66 inches of rain in 24 hours is once in 100 years. In other words, such a rain event has a one percent chance of occurring in any year.

You may have noticed there were two components to the storm referenced above. First, there was the amount of rain and second, the span of time in which it fell. It is possible to have a 100-year, 1-hour storm (3.04 inches) and a 100-year, 24-hour storm (6.66 inches) and all the mixes of time and amount of rain in between those examples.

Damage from the August 20th storm has been devastating for many residents whose homes were significantly wrecked by flood waters. In some areas on the west side, flood water overtopped streets by nearly five feet.  While most City critical infrastructure is functional again, City Engineering and other City agencies are still assessing all the damage reports to public and private properties.

As if the immediate flooding caused by the rain was not enough, the volume of water caused Lake Mendota to rise 16 inches one day after the rain. Within a few days, Lake Monona rose to more than 10 inches above the 100-year flood elevation, setting new record highs. Downtown Madison was flooded. Streets were closed, parking was removed, and sandbags were filled. Volunteer groups and the National Guard rallied to help sandbag impacted properties. Madison alone deployed over 225,000 sandbags.

The next stage of this event will be just as difficult to manage. Going into winter with high lake levels, significant ice damage along the shoreline can be expected. If we also have significant snowfall and spring rains, high lake levels and flooding concerns will persist in 2019.  We want to know about storm-related problems you experienced. Please report at:    

Note:  This is not the FEMA application for reimbursement, but rather this information is going to be collected and used by the City to give us a better understanding of the magnitude of the problems that occurred.  If you wish to contact FEMA for reimbursement, please visit:            

To find out what you can do to prepare or prevent flooding in your own home, please visit:

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

-Keith F

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