Flood precautions continue on Madison's isthmus

MADISON (WKOW) – As of Sunday night, the City of Madison has added 1,200 more homes to the flash flood risk areas downtown and on the isthmus. 

According to city officials, many of these homes are at risk because of high water levels in storm drains that empty into area lakes. As water levels rise in those drains, it could flood the streets and threaten nearby homes.

To keep the water out, homeowners are advised to sandbag vulnerable areas like doors and windows. That means ongoing efforts to produce sandbags will continue Monday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in 13 sites around Madison.

As of Sunday, the city had produced more than 160,000 sandbags thanks to more than 300 volunteers. That includes Dawn Marie Zimmerman, who said she spent most of her weekend filling up and delivering sandbags to the area around Riverside Drive.

“My place is fine, but I've got friends that are in trouble along the river there, so we're trying to get them protected,” she said,

Art Saffran lives along that road and said he began sandbagging Thursday, but as the flooding risk increased so did the number of bags around his home.

“This is about 10 car loads, maybe 12 carloads of sandbags,” he said, gesturing to the perimeter of bags surrounding his house.

Saffran said he took extra precautions because his home is facing threats from the rising Yahara River across the street, along with high water from the storm drains. On top of that, he said - as a corner home - his is particularly vulnerable to flooding from the streets.

For now, Saffran has hundreds of bags surrounding his house and extra bags piled against doors and windows.

“We're hoping that we don't get any rain and this is all for naught and the biggest problem will be how to get rid of the sandbags when we're done,” he said. “One sandbag too few could be a disaster,” he said.

He said so far, he hasn't experienced any flooding inside his home. He hopes those dry conditions continue despite incoming storms.

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