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As of March 11, 2022, the National Weather Service (NWS) has made an official weather announcement regarding flooding for the spring of 2022. According to the NWS, the risk of spring flooding in Southeastern Wisconsin is below average. This is due to the little snowpack and drier soils. However, it is important to be educated about flooding due to potential future rainfall this spring.

Likewise, as spring approaches, the National Weather Service predicts that due to mild temperatures that are expected next week, this will help thaw the top layer of soil. This will continue to help to reduce the risk of flooding. Dry weather is also expected over the next week, which will contribute to the prevention of flooding. The National Weather Service reports that “mid to late March is the time frame to watch if the deep soil layers are still frozen and as spring rain becomes more common.”

Therefore, things are looking up for those in Southeastern Wisconsin. Nevertheless, Wisconsinites in the Southeastern part of the state should prepare in case of flooding. If heavy rain occurs, this is the greatest potential to cause flooding. Additionally, if the ground is still frozen or rapid snowmelt occurs while moderate to heavy rain affects the state, this could also lead to flooding.

Prepare for Flooding

Being educated about potential flooding can help prevent issues from taking place in the event a flood should occur. The National Weather Service recommends the following:

  • Get a NOAA Weather Radio to be alerted to flash flood warnings and river flood warnings.
  • Download Weather.gov or a credible weather app on your phone.
    • Turn on notifications to stay up to date.
  • Monitor weather forecasts for heavy rain potential.
  • Have a set communication plan with your family in case of an emergency.
  • Monitor river levels and forecasted river levels online by visiting the NOAA’s flood watch siteU.S. Geological Survey,  and or the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.
  • Make a plan on how to escape your home and neighborhood while avoiding any roads susceptible to flooding in case of an emergency.
  • Check that your sump pump is working and consider a backup sump pump.
  • Install check-values to prevent floodwaters from backing up into the drains of your home.
  • Remove snow from roof, downspout areas, and away from base of home.
  • Utilize flood safety tips and resources.

Understanding Weather Alerts

It is important to understand the announcements and weather alerts made by the National Weather Service. According to the NWS, the following alerts are by definition:

  • Flash Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood-prone area move immediately to high ground. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.
    Flash Flood Warnings are changing to an “Impact-Based” format to improve public response. Read the factsheet.
  • Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening. A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.
  • Flood Watch: Be Prepared: A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.
  • Flood Advisory: Be Aware: A Flood Advisory is issued when a specific weather event that is forecast to occur may become a nuisance. A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.

Flood Safety Tips and Resources

According to the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, “each year, more deaths occur because of flooding than any other hazard related to thunderstorms. The most common flood deaths occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous floodwater. Fortunately, during a flood, you can take steps to protect yourself, your family, and your home.”

During a flood watch or warning:

  • Collect emergency supplies, including non-perishable food and water. Be sure to store at least 1 gallon of water per day for each person and each pet. Store at least a 3-day supply. Floods may cause power outages or cause you to lose access to food resources.
  • Have your immunization records available (or know the year of your last tetanus shot). Keep your immunization records in a waterproof container.
  • Bring your outdoor funiture or items into a location where they cannot fly away, or tie down outdoor items that can not be relocated.
  • Leave areas subject to flooding.

After a flood, it is important to follow safety measures that keep you and your family safe. The CDC says to:

  • Avoid driving through flooded areas.
  • Do not drink flood water or use it to cook, wash dishes, or brush your teeth.
  • If required to evacuate, return to your home only after local authorities allow it.
  • Throw away food/bottled water that comes/may have come into contact with floodwater.
  • Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by using generators that are placed at least 20 feet from any doors, windows or vents.

Read more about flood safety by visiting the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health.

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