A review of types of flooding and alerts that can be issued
Published: Apr. 6, 2022 at 6:33 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - With severe weather season rapidly approaching in southern Wisconsin, it is important to brush up on the alerts that may be issued across southern Wisconsin. In this article, we will focus on Flood Advisories and Alerts. The NWS Milwaukee/Sullivan office as well as the NWS La Crosse office serve the NBC15 viewing area. In conjunction with local authorities, the NWS, is responsible for issuing Flood Alerts and Advisories.

There are several types of Flood that can occur in this part of the country. Flash Flooding, Areal Flooding, and General Flooding.

Different types of flooding can impact this part of the country.
Different types of flooding can impact this part of the country.(wmtv)

There are also several levels of alerts that can be issued.


If an Advisory is issued, it means a potential flooding situation is ongoing or expected soon. These typically indicate more of an inconvenience than a life threatening situation. You still need to use caution to avoid danger to life and property. The most typical advisory is a flood advisory. Advisories can be issued for and entire county or just parts, as it is impact based.


A Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding to develop. They are typically issued well in advance, perhaps several hours or even days, ahead of potential flooding. The exact location and timing is unknown, but remains possible in and near the watch. Because of this, watches tend to cover a large area and can include many counties at once. When a watch is issued, have a plan and be ready to take action if necessary.


When a warning is issued, it means flooding is occurring, imminent, or likely. You need to immediately evaluate the situation and put your severe weather plan into action to avoid harm to life or property. A warning will include the area impacted by flooding and typically covers just part of a county or specific areas along a river or stream.


Knowing where you are located is a critical element in your severe weather plan to stay safe. It may sound trivial, but many people don’t know what county or area they live in or surrounding areas. Brushing up on counties and towns near you can prove vital when severe weather information is being relayed. It is also important when traveling to have a basic understanding of your surroundings should impactful weather move in your direction.

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