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Mayor Paul Soglin

Mayor Paul Soglin points out Madison's higher than average precipitation levels on a graph compiling data from the Wisconsin State Climatology Office. Yang Tao, the city's interim traffic engineer and parking utility manager, sits next to the mayor. 

With chances of rainfall through Wednesday coming on the heels of a rainy Sunday, Mayor Paul Soglin said flooding in Madison remains a concern.

Storms are expected Monday night in Madison, according to the National Weather Service. The Madison area is also expected to receive up to 1.5 inches of rain Tuesday night into Wednesday with chances for flash flooding. This comes as area lakes remain above their banks due to torrential rains in late August.

“We’re not quite back where we were a month ago, but unfortunately, our concern when we said, ‘Keep your sandbags in place’ and our concern that we were not out of this has unfortunately been realized,” Soglin said.

Starting in May, the city has seen higher than normal amounts of precipitation. As of the end of September, the city had received about 46 inches, according to data from the Wisconsin State Climatology Office.

“We’re hoping there will be no extensive snow or rain the last couple months of the year,” Soglin said.

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Cumulative precipitation data

Starting in May, Madison's cumulative precipitation has been higher than average, according to data from the Wisconsin State Climatology Office. 

Soglin said some areas are flooded now, though not as extensively as following the Aug. 20 storms. Currently, East Main Street is closed from the Yahara River to Northern Court, South Livingston Street is closed south of East Washington Avenue and Olin-Turville Court has one lane of traffic open. 

Up-to-date road and bike path closures can be found on the city’s flooding website.

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Soglin encouraged residents to keep sandbags in place and to keep leaves clear from storm water grates. He also said the the city has not yet received news on whether Gov. Scott Walker’s disaster declaration request has been granted or the status of Federal Emergency Management Agency applications.

To address the type of flooding that occurred on Madison’s west side in August, city engineers are evaluating areas prone to flash flooding and looking at engineering alternatives. Soglin included funding in his proposed 2019 spending to address flood mitigation on McKenna Boulevard and University Avenue on the west side.

Flooding occurring on the isthmus is a result of high lake levels and will require city and county efforts to resolve.

The Dane County Board of Supervisors recently approved a resolution that creates a group of experts to evaluate the situation and make policy recommendations, which could include petitioning the state Department of Natural Resources to allow lower lake levels. Soglin said the City Council will vote on a similar resolution

“We’re going to have to await the engineers and their recommendations, realizing that both topography and geography will have a lot to do with recommended solutions,” Soglin said.

Soglin said the group will not be calling on a political decision but focused on engineering and problem-solving. The County Board resolution asks for policy recommendations by March 31, 2019.

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Abigail Becker joined The Capital Times in 2016, where she primarily covers city and county government. She previously worked for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and the Wisconsin State Journal.