NEWS: Wisconsin Ready to Respond to Flood Threat
April 1, 2011
Flooding across Wisconsin remains an ongoing threat this spring as heavy snow and rain have caused many rivers to rise to or above flood stage. Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) is working with local, state and federal partners to keep Wisconsin citizens safe as waters rise.
"Since January, WEM has been working with officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Corps of Engineers, Wisconsin National Guard, several state agencies and local emergency management offices to prepare for potential flooding," said WEM Administrator Mike Hinman. "We wanted to ensure emergency plans were updated and flood-fighting equipment and resources prepositioned and ready to go."
Currently, the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued flood warnings for the Rock, Fox and Mississippi Rivers in Wisconsin. Minor flooding is occurring along these rivers, mainly impacting parks, agriculture or other lowland areas. The NWS anticipates the Mississippi River will remain high for most of April as much of northern Wisconsin and Minnesota still have heavy snow that will melt and will eventually run into the Mississippi River. In addition, they are concerned that any additional heavy precipitation this spring could result in major flooding.
WEM has over 500,000 sandbags prepositioned in Waukesha, Green Lake and Buffalo counties as well as at Volk Field at Camp Douglas. Many counties and local municipalities have been stockpiling sandbags, pumps and other equipment as well. WEM also has a mobile command center, a communications trailer and a portable light/communications tower ready to deploy.
"We are hopeful that we will continue to have a slow snow melt and minimal precipitation over the next few weeks," said Hinman. "In the meantime, we will continue to monitor all the rivers and tributaries closely."
Last month, Governor Walker proclaimed March 14-18, 2011 as Flood Safety Awareness Week in Wisconsin to encourage citizens to be ready for potential flooding. WEM along with the NWS, WI Department of Natural Resources, and Office of the Commissioner of Insurance continue to promote flood awareness and encourage citizens to take protective safety measures such as purchasing flood insurance. Flood safety tips are available at http://readywisconsin.wi.gov.