Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Wisconsin landscape flooded with water, dismissal of science, too.

[Updated continuously from 8/18/18]

This post morphed from an examination of a changing climate and the state's intentional ignoring of climate-change-related stormwater preparation into a frequently updated report on last weekend's historic rainfall in Dane County.

So I'm including on Thursday night another update, but will move some of the earlier updates to the bottom of the post so the post's original focus on climate change documentation is not forgotten.
Update Thursday, 8/23/18 11:00 - - With more rain in the forecast, rising waters have filled storm sewers and threaten a Yahara River dam on the isthmus between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona.
Wisconsin was hit earlier this year by flooding that scoured away cars, pavement, and land. Now it's happened again.

We've also got Scott Walker's 'chamber of commerce mentality' management that scrubbed away important information about why the flooding is likely to get worse, having ignored expert, public warnings about insufficient stormwater management and funding since 2003.

The rains in SE Wisconsin did stop and the flooding from Dane County to Ixonia to Watertown to I-43 in Milwaukee County is receding, but water levels will continue to rise and more rain is in the forecast.

So I wonder: is there a bigger picture to this?, since parts of Wisconsin - - Watertown, 2016, Racine County, 2017, Racine County, 2008, Madison, 2018, historic flooding in NW Wisconsin in 2018 and 2016

 etc.  - - have been hit by rains routinely labeled heavy, historic, worst ever., and so on.

And, yes, it's summer and we get storms, but you're also reading about record-breaking heat and climate change near and far, so you ask, what can the Wisconsin experts tell us?

A lot, as they said on the Wisconsin DNR's Great Lakes and Climate Change page

Climate Change and Wisconsin´s Great Lakes 
Earth's climate is changing. Human activities that increase heat–trapping ("green house") gases are the main cause. Earth´s average temperature has increased 1.4 °F since 1850 and the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 1998. 
Increasing temperatures have led to changes in rainfall patterns and snow and ice cover. These changes could have severe effects on the Great Lakes and the plants, wildlife and people who depend on them. 
While no one can predict exactly what climate change will mean for our Great Lakes, scientists agree that the following changes are likely if climate change patterns continue. 
  • Increased summer and winter temperatures will cause increased evaporation, lower lake water levels and warmer water, resulting in reduced habitat for cold water species and a loss of critical wetland areas.
  • Decreased winter ice cover will also contribute to increased evaporation and lower lake water levels which could have severe economic consequences for our valuable shipping industry, lakeshore recreation, and coastal businesses.
  • Changes in rain and snowfall patterns (including more frequent and severe storms) could change water flow in streams and rivers and increase stream bank erosion and runoff pollution.
The good news is that we can all work to slow climate change and lessen its effects.
But did you notice I wrote that these experts said" - - past tense - - because the DNR hasn't said that since 2016.

That science and language about "Human activities that increase heat–trapping ("green house") gases," and "Earth´s average temperature has increased 1.4 °F since 1850 and the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 1998" that language, those facts, their impact are gone.

And the wording about "more frequent and severe storms" is gone, too - - as I disclosed in December, 2016 and have continuously updated.

In fact, Walker's DNR senior managers even took the phrase "climate change' out of the page's title, so this is how its few sentences are labeled now:

The Great Lakes and a changing world
So while the DNR's page has been rendered useless and stripped of its context by heavy-handed, Team Walker ideological editing, and valuable links to additional information were deleted, too - - here's what it looks like today - - the warming and the flooding continue.

And Team Walker's purposeful, ideological dismissal of climate change and science itself extends to the beaten-down DNR science staff - - what few remain.

You can see why Illinois downstream from the massive Foxconn excavation in Racine County has concerns about flooding - - and rightly so - - since Wisconsin keeps  sending are incautious and dismissive signals - - from easy wetland filling on the Foxconn site to the dismissal of data and guidance which might help keep Wisconsin's rivers in their banks.

A full, continuously Foxconn archive now fourteen months running, with more than 225 posts, is here.
Previous climate/flooding updates are archived below:

Updated at 2:15 p.m.  Certainly the flooding was massive and historic, but I would take issue with "surprise," given two things: The known likelihood that rain events are getting more intense, and local forecasts said flooding was definitely possible: 
A strong low pressure system approaches from the Central Plains bringing widespread rains on Monday and the potential for flooding for areas already affected by heavy rainfall.
And in an earlier, pre-flooding update in this post, I had entered:
[Updated from 8/18/18. Eight counties under flash flood watches ahead of heavy rains forecast for Monday.]  
[Updated from 8/18/18. Eight Southern Wisconsin counties re under flash flood watches ahead of heavy rains forecast for Monday.]

Updated at 10:30 p.m., 8/21/18. 

Walker will tour flooding damage in Dane County Wednesday, 8/22. I hope any resident who gets past his security and staff screening can ask Walker if he understands that all those wetlands he wants to pave and build in are nature's way of mitigating the effects on the ground of rougher storms associated with a changing, warmer climate.
Heatwaves, rains may become more severe as weather stalls-study
And let's hope he supplies a better answer than what he gave a young boy several years ago who asked Walker what he was going to do about climate change. (Spoiler alert: the rest of this post indicates Walker is doing nothing affirmative.)

Updated at 1: 30 p.m., 8/22/18.  Yes, the rain has stopped, but rising Dane County lake levels will bring additional flooding during the week.

Earlier updates from 8/19-20-21/18. 

Take this seriously:

At 4:00 a.m. Tuesday, the National Weather Service extended flood warnings, across southern Wisconsin into Wednesday; media are reporting that rainfall at over 15 inches in parts of Dane County has established a new state record for a 24-hour period.

Rescues are continuing.

Heavy flooding in Madison, again.

Crazy heavy causing major in and surrounding areas. Cars stranded in high water. Be safe out there!

Videocast: Dangerous Flooding Tonight

1 comment:

Jake formerly of the LP said...

Record rains in Madison tonight, many main roads on the west side of town and west of town flooded and washed out. Rain gauge already at 5 inches and counting.

Now imagine that type of rain with acres of new blacktop around Foxconn, with no natural wetland protection and no environmental regulations on discharge. Any wonder why downstream Illinois is likely to sue?