After more than two weeks of heavy rainfall, the City of Madison is cleaning up after damage caused by floods. At the same time, they’re preparing for what could come next as rain keeps falling.
After rising an inch overnight, Lake Monona stood at a record high Monday.
Several key roads on the city’s east side, such as East Johnson Street, remain closed and many others have been forced to reduce traffic lanes. Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said at a press conference that the problems posed by water on city streets would likely be compounded by the start of classes this week.
“Our biggest challenge is the isthmus and the incoming traffic ... for rush hour and the return of school," Soglin said.
He urged commuters to check routes to their destinations before driving.
Despite transportation issues and forecasts for rain, Soglin said schools would be open as planned all week, but problems could arise if water flows or rain amounts change.
Although the rain is forecasted to clear up later in the week, Soglin said the threat of rains brought to the Midwest from tropical storms from the Caribbean could pose more problems.
“It’s going to take us one solid week of sunshine before we can start talking about the immediate crisis ending and getting into active recovery mode,” he said. “It’s getting more complicated now and less predictable.”
The city government has been continuously updating maps detailing road closures and areas of increased flood risk. The city is also offering free sandbags to Madison residents who hope to avoid property damage. Soglin said he was unable to estimate the extent of property damage, but said the city would release a figure in the coming days.
Soglin asked residents to be patient with regard to city services, like trash collection and water utility, as employees are working overtime to complete repairs.
“This is a very unusual event,” Soglin said. “We all wish it would, end but obviously we have no control over it.”