For Release: 06/11/2015

Rainfall Forecast Calls for Heightened Safety Around Fast-moving Rivers, Especially Near Dams

Green Bay and Necedah, WI – The National Weather Service (NWS) is forecasting substantial rain across much of central and southern Wisconsin. A flash flood watch has been issued by the service for the area from late this afternoon through much of Friday.

Current river forecasts in the Wisconsin Public Service area aren't a cause for alarm because the heavy rain is taking a more southerly path into far southern Wisconsin. However, future NWS forecasts include the chance of several rounds of heavy rainfall in the week ahead. The accumulating rain and potentially saturated ground can combine to cause a runoff into creeks and streams, with the water eventually making its way into the larger rivers in our area. The Wisconsin River, in particular, has a large watershed which is where most of the runoff will accumulate. That means high water, very fast-moving currents and greater discharges from dams along the river.

In addition, today's rain could end up taking a more northerly track, hastening the runoff effects on rivers in our area.

After repeated heavy rain, even areas that are not prone to flooding or do not receive much rainfall can be affected as the accumulated water moves downstream, often taking several days before river flows return to normal.

The risk of continued heavy bouts of rainfall heightens the danger above and below dams, reservoirs, and on rivers. The dangers persist long after the rain stops, so caution should be exercised whenever there is heavy rainfall.

Wisconsin Public Service and Wisconsin River Power Company operate many dams, primarily along the Wisconsin and Peshtigo Rivers. The companies are urging people to exercise extreme caution around dams, rivers and reservoirs in the coming week. Water levels are likely to fluctuate, so those who live on reservoirs or downstream from dams should have a plan if dangerous weather occurs and make sure they have an "escape route."