Historical Heavy Rain & Flooding Event of June 21-28, 2013 in WI

Quick Facts

What

Several rounds of thunderstorms with heavy rains. Total weekly rain amounts of 6 to over 13 inches, and some 24-hr totals of 5 to over 7 inches. 

Where

Wisconsin - northwest, west-central, southwest, south-central

When

June 21-28, 2013

Impact

Flash flooding, damaged roads, closed roads, blocked roads, mudslides, shoulder & culvert washouts, flooded basements, damaged buildings and vehicles, oil and gas leaks

  Fatalities  

None reported (direct)

Injuries

None reported (direct)

 

Basic Overview

During the period of June 21-28, 2013, parts of Wisconsin experienced historic 24-hr, 48-hr, 72-hr, and 7-day rainfall amounts which had a statistical frequency of about once every 100 to 500 years. This resulted in river flooding, mud-slides, damaged buildings and closed roads.  Some river gauge sites experienced major flooding levels and record crests.

Although the heaviest rains and flooding in the June 21-28 wet period weren’t as widespread as the major to record June, 2008 flooding in southern Wisconsin, on a local basis the impact was just as profound.  Most of the rain fell during the period of June 21-27th.

Four regions of the state experienced the greatest rain totals in June, 2013: Douglas County to Ashland County, Crawford County to northwestern Iowa County, the Dane-Green-Rock-western Walworth County area and the northeast Marathon-Northern Shawano-Menominee County area .  Unfortunately, the urbanization and drainage situation in the southern part of Madison amplified the effects of flooding.

Whereas a number of counties had some road or public infrastructure damage, the hardest-hit counties were Ashland, Crawford, Dane, Grant, Iowa, Richland, Sauk, St. Croix, and Vernon.

Rainfall Amounts & Weather Set-up

Total rainfall amounts for the June 21-27th period in the worst-hit area ranged from 8 to over 13 inches. This is over 600% above normal for the week. Some extreme weekly totals include 13.93 inches in Prairie du Chien, 13.09 inches in Boscobel (Grant Co.), 13 inches southeast of Steuben (Crawford Co.), 12.33 inches near Dayton (Green Co.), an estimated 12 inches in Clinton (Rock Co.), and 11.94 inches at the Lynxville Dam on the Mississippi River.

Some 24-hr extremes were 7.79 inches in Boscobel (Grant Co.) ending on the 22nd, 6.54 inches in Gordon (Douglas Co.) ending at 7 am on the 21st, 6.36 inches in Dodgeville (Iowa Co.) ending at 7 am on the 22nd, and 6.08 inches in New Glarus (Green Co.) ending at 7 am on the 22nd.

Hourly rainfall rates with some of the strongest storms reached 1 to 2 inches per hour which led to localized flash flooding. The hilly terrain from northwestern to southwestern and south-central Wisconsin amplified the quick run-off and river levels jumped dramatically.

Locally heavy rainfalls of 2 to 3 inches on June 27th and 28th in the Marathon/Shawano/Menominee County area led to flood damage on the Stockbridge Munsee Tribal Reservation on June 28th.  Some buildings were damaged.

The basic weather set-up for the June, 2013 heavy rains and flooding was very similar to the June, 2008 situation.  A stationary frontal boundary stretched from northern Iowa through northern Illinois during the period, separating very warm and humid air from somewhat cooler and drier air to the north.  A low-level jet pushed warm, moist air northeast over the frontal boundary which resulted in thunderstorms.  There were several rounds of thunderstorm activity persisting for 3 to 9 hours that occurred mostly at night over a stretch of a week.  Each round resulted in 3 to 6 inches of rain affecting some part of northwestern through southwestern and south-central Wisconsin within a 24-hr period.

Below on the left is a graphic of 7-Day total rainfall from June 21th through June 27th.  On the right is the precipitation departure in percentage for the 7-Day period.  Click on the images for a larger version. 

7-Day Rain Srn WI  7-Day Departure

Below on the left is a 30-day rainfall total graphic for all of Wisconsin for the period of 11 am June 1st through 11 am CDT July 1st.  This graphic doesn't capture just the rain that fell within the month of June, 2013, but it's very close.  The graphic on the right shows a zoomed in view of southern Wisconsin for the same time period.  Click on the images for a larger version.

June 2013 WI rainfall  30-Day rain srn WI

 

Total Rainfall for Period of 7 am June 20th through 7 am June 27th
  CRAWFORD Prairie du Chien 13.93
BB LW3 GRANT BOSCOBEL-1 NE-AUTO.* 13.09
  CRAWFORD Steuben 13
WGN01 GREEN DAYTON-2 N-COCO. 12.33
  CRAWFORD Lynxville 11.92
  VERNON Readstown 11.74
  VERNON La Farge 11.71
  CRAWFORD Gay Mills 11.3
PDCW3 CRAWFORD PRAIRIE DU CHIEN-WATER 10.97
CLIW3 ROCK CLINTON-WWTP 10.76
STEW3 CRAWFORD STEUBEN-KICKAPOO R.* 10.5
NGLW3 GREEN NEW GLARUS-1 SW 10.04
REAW3 VERNON READSTOWN-WEST-RIVER* 9.68
  VERNON Viroqua 9.42
SBNW3 CRAWFORD STEUBEN-4 SE 9.25
DGVW3 IOWA DODGEVILLE-WWTP 9.23
LYNW3 CRAWFORD LYNXVILLE-DAM 9-COE 8.98
Y85W3 WALWORTH DARIEN-1 NE-HAM 8.85
MCFW3 DANE MCFARLAND-LK. WAUBESA* 8.83
STOW3 DANE STOUGHTON-WWTP 8.74
  Adams Friendship 8.71
GENW3 VERNON GENOA-DAM 8-COE 8.55
MRBW3 DANE MT. HOREB-1 S-WWTP 8.52
BCHW3 LAFAYETTE BLANCHARDVILLE 2S-RIV* 8.18
NVLW3 ROCK NEWVILLE 5NE-LK. KOSH* 8.07
ARBW3 DANE MADISON-ARBORETUM 8.01
WDA22 DANE OREGON-5 W-COCO. 7.91
  GRANT Lancaster 7.9
OVS GRANT BOSCOBEL-AIRPORT 7.81
WDA14 DANE MCFARLAND-1 E-COCO. 7.81
MRPW3 IOWA MINERAL PT.-NORTHEAST 7.8
MTOW3 ROCK MILTON-WWTP 7.76
BLLW3 DANE BELLEVILLE-4 NW 7.75
BLDW3 IOWA BARNEVELD-1 S-WWTP 7.73
WJF05 JEFFERSON WHITEWATER-1 NW-COCO. 7.72
LNR SAUK LONE ROCK-AIRPORT 7.67
SACW3 SAUK SAUK CITY-1 SW-WWTP 7.63
WDA25 DANE OREGON-1 SW-COCO. 7.57
LAFW3 VERNON LA FARGE 7.55

River Response

Yahara River at Fulton set a new all-time crest on June 26th in the major flooding category at 12.06 feet, breaking the old record of 11.16 feet set on July 18, 1996.  In contrast, the river at this gauge site dropped to 3.63 feet on July 16, 2012 - its 3rd lowest reading on record.

Turtle Creek near Clinton notched its 2nd highest crest (high-end moderate category) on record on June 26th at 11.76 feet.  The highest crest was 12.85 feet back on April 21, 1973.

Turtle Creek in Beloit came within a fraction of an inch of the major flood category when it crested at 13.95 feet on June 27th.  This is the highest crest observed in Beloit, but our river data goes back only a few years.  In contrast, the river at this site dropped to 4.91 feet on June 26, 2012, but we don't know if this is the lowest reading.

Resource for above three sites:  Record River Crests in Southern Wisconsin    Advanced Hyrologic Prediction Service

Kickapoo River at Steuben in Crawford experienced moderate flooding after a rise of roughly  5.5 feet, going from about 7.5 feet to over 13 feet.  Moderate flooding at this location starts at 13 feet.  Hydrograph

Putting Madison's Rainfall Into Perspective 

At the end of the June 21-27, 2013 period Madison had experienced its wettest year on record to date: 30.58 inches, or 14.81 inches above normal. Similar conditions existed at other locations in southwest and south-central Wisconsin.  Madison's normal annual precipitation is 34.48 inches, and that's for 12 months!  Click here for a map of the normal annual precipitation over all of Wisconsin.

Pictures of Flooding in Dane County

 DaenCoUniversityAveMadison  DaneCounty

Pictures of Flooding in Green County

GreenCounty

IowaCounty

Pictures of Flooding in Rock County

Northern Rock County flooding  Southern Rock Couinty Flooding

TurtleCreekBeloit  TurtleCreekHwyJ

Related Material/Resources

Early June Flooding & Heavy Rain in 2008

Historical Flooding Event of June 7-8, 2008 (La Crosse report)

NOAA Atlas 14-point Precipitation Frequency Estimates: WI


Kapela, WFO Milwaukee


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