I-94 is completely open again

Thank goodness. I’m glad that this major thoroughfare is open and that it’s been deemed safe. Here’s the latest WisDOT closed road map:

WisDOT closed road map on June 27

Compare this to the June 14 map:

WisDOT closed roads on June 14

Much better, eh? The other effect that I-94 westbound in Jefferson County being closed was that it made me take I-43, which offers a more relaxed pace of travel. That in turn allowed me to take this picture of my car’s dashboard:

401.1 miles on about half a tank of fuel. Danke, mein TDI!

I’d driven 401.1 miles on about half a tank of fuel. Danke, mein TDI! Unfortunately, the car always seems to go through fuel faster on the second half-tank, and in the end my total miles were just under 650 miles from about 13.5 gallons of fuel, which makes for right around 48 MPG. Not bad. With diesel up to ~$4.60/gallon, and commercial biodiesel even higher, I need every efficient mile I can get.

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A better “Clean Sweep” for Wisconsin

Rather than former state senator and hard-right-wing religious zealot Tom Reynolds’ Clean Sweep Wisconsin PAC, may I offer Operation Clean Sweep, a joint effort American Red Cross and Salvation Army. Rather than backing candidates who don’t believe in habeus corpus or ensuring that we do in fact become a theocracy, according to WFRV-TV in Green Bay, Operation Clean Sweep seeks to “help those affected by the recent flooding in the Midwest.” The Green Bay Press-Gazette (a Gannett newspaper) ran a story on the operation, .

While I couldn’t find much further information on it, there is an American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund page. All financial donations to the Red Cross are tax-deductible, but they apparently also need everything from buckets and pails to garbage bags to bottled water, rubber gloves and respirator masks. The effects of the floods are by no means not over. Driving down I-94 last weekend I saw that while much of the flood water has receeded, there are still hundreds if not thousands of acres of devastated farm land. That says nothing about the people that were affected by the floods, be they in Green Bay, Wisconsin or Burlington, Iowa.

I-94 westbound has been reopened

The state built a crossover lane, making the westbound lane has been made part of the eastbound lane in Jefferson County. It may take a lot longer to get over it now, but at least it’s there. I’ll take some pictures, assuming traffic allows me to, on Saturday, which is the next time I’ll go over there.

Flood damage visible from I-43 in southern Wisconsin

As anticipated, a trip down I-43 to Beloit provided an opportunity to look at flood damage in rural southern Wisconsin. While the pictures from June 13 showed the view from eastbound I-94, this set from June 16 focuses on flooding in Rock, Walworth, and Waukesha Counties. There are eight pictures in all. Continue reading “Flood damage visible from I-43 in southern Wisconsin”

Road closures continue; more flooding yet to come

About 28 miles of Highway 106 are currently closed from State Highway 73 to County E (Jefferson). It wasn’t closed this morning, suggesting the flooding continues. Indeed, the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service shows major flooding along the Rock River.

The Journal Sentinel has pictures of downtown Pewaukee flooding and quotes a 92-year-old resident of the Pewaukee as saying that “she had never [seen] flooding so severe.” Another story describes carp (the fish) swimming down Wisconsin Avenue in Pewaukee in the floodwater from Pewaukee Lake, which overflowed in the rain. Scarily, the lake apparently has not crested yet.

Similarly, the Rock River is not expected to fully reach its peak level in some places until Wednesday. Consult these NWS charts. The river has apparently peaked in Watertown, but the villages of Newville and Afton to the south have yet to see the worst. I’m not a meteorologist, but I think I’m reading this right. I certainly hope I’m proven wrong on this stuff. This is terrible for everyone.

Rural areas off I-43 are badly flooded too

Yikes. I should have brought a camera, so you’ll just have to take my word that many areas off Interstate 43 look sometimes worse than what I saw off I-94 the other day. On a trip down to Beloit today, I saw:

– A small valley with two billboards in it. Both valleys are filled with water, which is up to the bottoms of the billboards.

– Water about a foot below I-43.

– The large quarry in Walworth County that is now a small lake or a large pond. Take your pick.

– And a farm field that resembled a field of mud more than anything.

If I happen to go that way again tomorrow, I’ll definitely bring my camera.

Closed state roads all around Wisconsin (June 2008)

The red lines indicate roads that the Wisconsin Department of Transportation has closed due to flooding.

(Via Google Maps.)

Things are looking bad in Jefferson County, which is under the big red line in the lower right side of the picture. Apparently the Rock River has continued to rise, and some roads in Rock County are closed as well. The Rock County Emergency Management has listed places in the towns of Beloit, Fulton, Janesville, and Milton where sandbags and sand are available at no cost.

FEMA has provided sandbagging instructions via this helpful graphic. (What does the second frame represent? Open the bag and fold its top over?)

If you haven’t seen it, the state DOT has a list of all closures of state roads. Good luck, everyone!