Storms lash southern Wisconsin, prompt flood warnings; some rural schools close Friday

Storms lash southern Wisconsin, prompt flood warnings; some rural schools close Friday

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Authorities in Crawford County urged motorists to stay off the roads after a severe thunderstorm rolled through the area Thursday night, causing flooding and landslides.

That led to the Boscobel and Wauzeka-Steuben school districts cancelling classes on Friday due to the flooding and road conditions, while Fennimore decided to open schools two hours late, according to posts on their Facebook pages. 

Dane County was under a flash flood warning until 12:30 a.m. Friday, the National Weather Service said just after 9:15 p.m., and most of southern Wisconsin was under a flash flood watch until 7 a.m. Friday.

In addition, there was a tornado watch until 10 p.m. Thursday for Adams, Juneau, Richland, Crawford and Grant counties.

The Wisconsin State Patrol reported that both sides of Highway 61, between Marietta Valley Road and Highway 133, were closed because of debris on the road. The road was open again by 10 p.m.

In addition, Highway 35 between Prairie du Chien and Ferryville was closed because of debris on the road, and it remained closed shortly before 3 a.m. Friday, authorities reported.

The Crawford County Sheriff's Office also reported flooding and landslides have affected many of the roads in the county. The Grant County Sheriff's Office also said some roads were flooded there.

Shortly after 9 p.m., the Iowa County Sheriff's Office said the county was experiencing "multiple" flooded roads, trees down and a mudslide near the intersections of Highways 130 and 133, which is south of Lone Rock and the Wisconsin River. The sheriff's office said mud and rocks were in the road.

The sheriff's office urged motorists not to flood its communications center with calls asking about what routes to drive to avoid flooded roads.

Police in Darlington reported that roads throughout Lafayette County were flooded, along with some in the city. The bridge across the Pecatonica River, however, remained open. 

The storm continued to roll across southern Wisconsin, prompting severe thunderstorm warnings and flood watches across much of the area, from Lafayette to Dane counties. Some areas, including Lafayette County, Iowa County and southern Sauk County, were under flash flood warnings after more than an inch of rain had already fallen, with more rain expected.

In Madison, the storms caused a large tree to fall on power lines along Sweetbriar Road, near Oxford Road, affecting five consecutive power poles in the neighborhood. Fire crews arriving at 10:30 p.m. found two of those poles snapped, a transformer on the ground, and power lines dangling.

Firefighters went door to door to advise residents to stay inside, and the road was closed off in all directions.

The Madison Fire Department said its Engine 9 crew stood by until released by Shorewood Hills police and MGE around 11:50 p.m.

Thursday night's storms and heavy rain came after several rounds of storms this week had caused saturated ground across southern Wisconsin.


Jeff Richgels of the Wisconsin State Journal contributed to this report.

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