Southern Wisconsin prepares for possible flash flooding

Published: Jun. 9, 2020 at 4:56 PM CDT
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With parts of Wisconsin expecting several inches of rain Tuesday night from the remnants of Tropical Storm Cristobal, several counties are worried about flash flooding.

"Not having dealt with a tropical storm before, we just want to make sure that we're being proactive," said Jeff Jelinek, Sauk County Emergency Management Director.

Jelinek explained that he is not worried about flooding from rising river levels in the Baraboo or Wisconsin rivers. Heavy rain Tuesday is most likely to cause flooding in some residential areas.

Sauk County offered residents free sand and bags. Jelinek encouraged people who live in flood prone areas to take advantage.

"The time to prepare is now, not when the water starts coming into homes," he said.

Dustin and Krystal Hellenbrand, who live in Sauk City, are not taking any chances.

"[I] just replaced my floor and I don't want the new floor to be ruined," Dustin explained.

The couple said when it rains, water gets in through the back door of their basement. That is how their old floor got destroyed.

"It was a series of really heavy rainstorms, maybe five, six months ago," Dustin remembered. Krystal added, "It got really bad last year."

The couple packed more than a dozen sandbags into their van. They also filled several more to leave behind for people who needed them.

Jelinek told NBC15 the National Weather Service predicted just over an inch of rain, so he is not expecting the situation to get too bad. However, he still wants people to be prepared.

"Now's the time to just get some bags, get that area sealed off so it can lessen the likelihood of water coming into your home and damaging things," he said.

Grant County and Lafayette County are also making preparations. Grant County Emergency Management Director Steve Braun told NBC15 there are five water assistance teams on standby to rescue people in case flash floods impact roads or homes.

The teams are made up of 34 firefighters from across the region. These teams have inflatable boats and rescue rafts that they can put into action right away.

Sauk County is also keeping an eye out for water over roads. Jelinek reminded drivers to turn around if they see any water.

"You just don't know what's going on underneath that water, you don't know if the road's getting washed out," he said.

A flash flood watch is in effect for Adams. Crawford, Grant, Iowa, Juneau, Lafayette, Richland, Sauk and Vernon Co., WI from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday morning.

Sauk County residents: Sand and bags are available for free at 614 Linn St. in West Baraboo! A Sauk City couple filled...

Posted by Sanika Bhargaw NBC15 on Tuesday, June 9, 2020