The rapid snow melt has become too much to handle for many southern Wisconsin rivers and streams, with flooding reported on dozens of highways, people being evacuated in Fond du Lac and at least one record breaking water level in Columbia County.
In Fond du Lac, the Associated Press reported workers have helped as many as 300 people evacuate from their homes because of ice-jam flooding along the Fond du Lac River in eastern Wisconsin.
Fond du Lac Fire Division Chief Troy Haase said firefighters have been to 15 homes and three separate apartment buildings to help people evacuate Thursday as water swamped local roads and basements.
Spring Creek in Lodi reached 8.6 feet Thursday morning, breaking the historic crest level of 8.4 feet set twice, in June 2008 and June 2014.
That is just one of multiple flooding scenarios being played out all over southern Wisconsin, as temperatures climb to 60 and the snow cover has essentially been eliminated.
The flooding could be exacerbated Thursday afternoon as a cold front moves through the area, with scattered to numerous thunderstorms developing.
"There is a marginal risk these storms could become severe," the National Weather Service said. "Damaging winds is the primary threat."
A flood warning has been issued for Black Earth Creek in Mazomanie, with the stream a foot above flood stage at 11.0 feet. Flood forecasts aren't issued for that location, but the warning will stay in place until the stream falls below flood stage.
Highways closed in south-central Wisconsin as of noon Thursday include:
- South Point Road on Madison's Far West Side, from the fire station south to Harvest Moon Road.
- Highway Y in Mazomanie from Hudson Street to North Street
- Highway 69 from Highway 151 to Highway PB
- Highway 78 from Highway A to the Green County line
- Highway Z from Highway 78 to Highway E
- Highway W from Highway B to East Church Road
- Highway A from Bass Lake Road to Hoel Road
- Highway C from Muller Road to Highway V
- Highway 188 in Lodi between Harmon Road East and Highway V
- Highway 28 from Highway 175 to Interstate 41
- Highway 68 from Highway F to Highway A
- Highway 133 west of Highway 80
- Highway 191 from Highway W to Highway K
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- Highway 154 between Highway 136 and Highway 23
- Two streets in Prairie du Sac, Lueders Road and Grand Avenue should be avoided due to high water
- Tin Can Road
- Highway X from Behnke Road to Doyle Road
- Babler Road near Highway M
- Dill Road from N1517 to N1902
- Cadiz Springs Road from Highway 11 to Pine Tree Road
- Highway MM from Buckhorn to the county line
- Smock Valley Road from Highway MM to the east and north
- West River Road likely to close later in the afternoon
- Hughes Road from N8996 to N9025
- Highway Y from Highway 81 to Highway M
- Klondike Road south of Highway 81
- Highway EE from Highway F to Highway D
- Schneeburger Road
- Highway T from Rock Hill Road to West Smith Road
- Town Center Road from Highway T to Mount Hope Road
- Ten Eyck Road from Brodhead to Park Road
- Decatur Albany Road
- Main Street bridge for Highway 23/81 in Darlington, Pecatonica River flooded
- Highway 13 south of Adams at Edgewood Drive
- Highway 82 east of Eighth Avenue
- Highway 21 in Arkdale
Frozen ground conditions still abound throughout southern Wisconsin, so the melted snow has nowhere else to go but into low-lying areas, rivers, fields, etc.
The state highway travel map has about two dozen road closings pinpointed as of 1 p.m. Thursday, but that's mainly for major highways, so if you are traveling to or from a certain area, check with local authorities to see if your route is good to go.
In the counties covered by the Weather Service Milwaukee Region, 32 out of 130 river gauges were at flood stage.
Flood watches and warnings are in effect until Friday morning in most areas, but rivers will be monitored throughout the region during the weekend to see if warnings need to be extended, the Weather Service said.
Rain is expected to continue into early Friday morning, but the cold front should drop temperatures to the low 30s, meaning we could see snow mixed with rain before it all ends Friday afternoon.
The rest of the weekend and the first part of next week looks good, albeit not near the 60-degree weather we are seeing Thursday.
The day-to-day outlook in the Madison area:
- Thursday afternoon: A 60 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, winds gusting up to 30 mph. Rainfall of less than a tenth of an inch is forecast, with higher amounts in storms.
- Thursday night: A 60 percent chance of rain before 3 a.m., then rain and snow showers to 5 a.m., then rain after 5 a.m., low around 33. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
- Friday: A 30 percent chance of snow showers, mixing with rain after noon, then gradually ending, high near 37. Winds gusting up to 30 mph.
- Friday night: Mostly cloudy, low around 22. Winds gusting up to 25 mph.
- Saturday: Mostly sunny, high near 37.
- Saturday night: Partly cloudy, low around 20.
- Sunday: Mostly sunny, high near 41.
- Sunday night: Partly cloudy, low around 22.
- Monday: Mostly sunny, high near 41.
- Monday night: Partly cloudy, low around 23.
- Tuesday: Mostly sunny, high near 44.
- Tuesday night: Mostly cloudy, low around 27.
- Wednesday: Mostly sunny, high near 45.