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Flooding is a major concern as heavy rain in thunderstorms that could be severe is in the forecast for south-central Wisconsin Tuesday into Wednesday.
While levels on lakes Monona and Waubesa have risen in recent weeks, the Yahara River is flowing fast enough to bring them down about half an inch per day, said John Reimer, deputy director of Land and Water Resources for Dane County.
Lakes Mendota and Monona are about 18 inches lower than they were at their peak during the flooding of September 2018, providing space to take on stormwater runoff.
Reimer did warn that already high groundwater levels combined with heavy rains could result in localized flash flooding and water in basements.
A flash flood watch started at 7 a.m. Tuesday and runs through Wednesday at 10 a.m., with a key factor being that September was one of the 10 wettest of all time for Madison with 6.8 inches, more than double the normal total of 3.13 inches.
“Soils are pretty saturated,” said Marc Kavinsky, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Milwaukee.
The area is expected to see 1 to 2.5 inches of rain in rounds of storms during the watch period, with some locations possible seeing 3 to 5 inches, leading to flash flooding and river flooding.
The Weather Service warned those in flood-prone areas to be ready for possible flooding.
There is a marginal to slight risk for severe storms Tuesday afternoon and evening, with damaging winds and large hail the main risks.
In Madison on Tuesday, there’s an 80 percent chance for showers and storms, with possible totals of a half to three-quarters of an inch, a high near 75 and southwest winds around 5 miles per hour, the Weather Service said.
Showers and storms overnight could bring 1 to 2 inches more of rain as the low falls to around 53.
The chance for showers and storms falls to 60 percent Wednesday and Wednesday night, with a quarter- to half-inch possible during the day and a tenth to a quarter of an inch possible at night.
The high should be near 57 under cloudy skies, with northeast winds at 10 to 15 miles per hour, and the low around 54.
The next chance for showers and storms will be 50 percent Saturday and Saturday night.
Skies over Madison should be mostly cloudy Thursday, mostly sunny Friday, mostly cloudy Saturday, partly sunny Sunday, and mostly sunny Monday, with highs near 58, 56, 57, 60 and 56, and lows Thursday night through Sunday night around 43, 45, 47, 56 and 44,
27 Storm Track meteorologist Guy Brown forecasts periods of showers and storms Tuesday, with heavy rain possible; showers and storms overnight, with locally heavy rain possible; showers Wednesday; a few showers Wednesday night and Thursday; and possible scattered showers and storms Saturday.
Monday’s high in Madison was 85 at 3:17 p.m., 19 degrees above the normal high and 3 degrees below the record high of 88 for Sept. 30, set in 1971.
Monday’s low in Madison was 61 at 12:25 a.m., 17 degrees above the normal low and 33 degrees above the record low of 28 for Sept. 30, set in 19934.
Officially, 0.01 inches of precipitation was recorded at the Dane County Regional Airport on Monday, boosting Madison’s September and meteorological fall (September through November) precipitation total (rain plus snow converted to liquid) to 6.8 inches, 3.67 inches above normal. The 2019 total rose to 36.39 inches, 8.44 inches above normal.
Madison’s record precipitation for Sept. 30 is 1.72 inches in 1881.
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