By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Swollen rivers threaten flooding
A picnic table sits in water along the banks of the Sugar River near Brodhead Monday afternoon. A flood warning was in effect for the Sugar River Monday, as moderate rainfall and melting snow over the weekend has caused area rivers to rise above the flood stage of 5 feet. (Times photo: Anthony Wahl)
A slow but determined drizzle combined with snow-melting temperatures caused hazardous flooding around the area Sunday into Monday.

The National Weather Service issued flood warnings Monday for rivers across southern Wisconsin, including Sugar River near Brodhead, Pecatonica River in Lafayette County and its east branch by Blanchardville. These high river levels will continue into the week, but the Weather Service is gauging the probability for widespread hazardous weather at low.

Still, driving in these conditions is risky.

By early afternoon Monday, the Green County Sheriff's Department announced the closing of at least one road - Tin Can Road in the Albany area, between County EE and Zurfluh Road.

Roads were barricaded at 15 to 16 locations across Lafayette County, according to Lafayette County Sheriff Scott Pedley.

"The force of the water is strong and unpredictable," Pedley said. In some places, roads were completely impassable. In general, he cautioned drivers to slow down. "It's a changing situation."

Based on past flooding patterns, he anticipates water will recede first in the highlands of the northern part of Lafayette County and recede last in lower-lying areas to the south.

"It takes many, many hours for the water to recede," he said.

Above all, he advises drivers not to ignore barricades. Back in the 1990s, he said, two people drowned in Lafayette County after attempting to drive through a flooded road.

Darlington teetered Monday on the verge of a flooding emergency. In the early hours of the morning, the Pecatonica River had flooded low-lying parks including the Lafayette County Fairgrounds and ATV campgrounds in Darlington, according to Chief of Police Jason King. Water was also flooding streets within the city, but they remained passable.

The river crested late morning at 14.42 feet, according to King. It is usually 2 to 3 feet deep.

Even at this engorged level, the flooding is within the coping capacity of the city, which followed through with a flood mitigation plan after a particularly bad flood in 1993.

"Now, we can experience floods of 15 feet or higher that have little impact," King said.