11 Nur 165 B.E. (Baha’i calendar)
Soundtrack in my head: The Beatles, “Octopus’s Garden”
Even people not from this area know that southern Wisconsin has been inundated with rain and flooding. Welcome to wet and woolly Wisconsin. What is creepy is how familiar I am with the places affected by the disaster.
Lake Delton is the source of many childhood memories for me. My parents took us up to the Wisconsin Dells area at least a couple of times when I was a child. The Tommy Bartlett Water Show occurred on Lake Delton, and I have memories of riding the Wisconsin Ducks on the lake and up the hillsl.
So I found myself scratching my head when I read the headline, “Lake Delton is No More.” I mean, how could a lake just disappear, much less a lake that is associated with childhood memories? But it was heartening to hear that the Wisconsin Ducks were put to good use helping rescue Baraboo residents affected by the flooding. But leave it to Wisconsinites to find humor in the situation: one resort owner quipped that there were plenty of lakes in Wisconsin that had water, but a lake without water is a novelty.
More creepy is the fact that I’ve been at many of these places just in the last month or so. Two weeks ago, I canoed on the Crawfish River near Reeseville and Hubbleton Now the waters are rising on the river. I remember the river being quite shallow—five feet at its deepest, but it is now at over thirteen feet at Milford, which is about five miles south of where we were.
On Memorial Day, a housemate and I did some hiking at Devil’s Lake. We drove along Highway 33 from Portage to Baraboo, and as we did, we crossed I-94. The front page of today’s Wisconsin State Journal showed that intersection completely inundated with water. The north and south shores of Devil’s Lake were under water—we had hiked along the bluffs and done some wading in the lake—my guess is we’d now be doing some wading where the car was parked.
It hasn’t heavily affected Madison as of yet, but sandbags are being made widely available, which really makes me think. Technically, I live in a floodplain, and my house is at the bottom of the hill. Many tall buildings have been built in this neighborhood and the underground garages underneath the buildings frequently flood. I live on the western end of the Isthmus, a mile-wide strip of land between two three-mile wide lakes—Mendota and Monona. Aerial views show us surrounded by water. But the Yahara River, which feeds these lakes, has not flooded.
However, several sewage treatment plants have been overwhelmed, and many released sewage into Lakes Mendota and Monona, as well as Cherokee Marsh. The lakes are closed until further notice to swimmers, and boaters are urged to stay out as well. That’s a bummer—I was going to do some kayaking this weekend.
The lakes are creeping up on people. I was in the Bay Creek neighborhood this morning just south of Monona Bay and saw a bench sticking out of the water just like this:
And more rain is forecast…