MADISON — Water-logged southern Wisconsin braced Friday for yet another bout of severe weather over the Labor Day weekend, the latest in a seemingly endless stream of punishing thunderstorms and floods over the past two weeks that has caused at least $44 million in damage to public infrastructure.
Wisconsin Emergency Management spokesman Andrew Beckett said that number is expected to grow. Many communities are still too busy responding to flooding to tabulate damage estimates, he said Friday.
As much as 14 inches of rain has been dumped in some spots, causing widespread flooding. At least 16 tornadoes touched down in the state on Tuesday.
The National Weather Service predicted that the Madison area would get up to 2 inches from Friday night through Sunday. The area southwest of the city is expected to get up to 3 inches, and some places could get more.
Beckett said authorities are keeping a close eye on the swollen Baraboo and Kickapoo rivers. Rain this weekend would add to the woes of flooded towns and villages along the rivers, where sandbagging efforts have been ongoing for days.
One man drowned last week after floodwaters swept his car into a Madison drainage ditch, but there have been no other reports of storm-related deaths or injuries.
Communities across the region have been grappling with flooded neighborhoods and roads, racing to fill sandbags before the next storms arrive.
Gov. Scott Walker declared a statewide emergency this week, authorizing state agencies and the National Guard to help local governments with recovery efforts.
Walker has spent the past few days touring flood damage. He was due to make a stop Friday afternoon in Baraboo. He tweeted Thursday that the storm damage was “amazing” and “heartbreaking.” On Friday he tweeted warnings urging people not to drive through standing water or let children play in it.
Wisconsin and WesterCity officials in Madison warned football fans that streets leading to Camp Randall Stadium are flooded and they should plan extra time to get to and from Friday night’s football game between n Kentucky.