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Flood Information

Planning and Zoning

Warm season flash floods are the result of intense rainfalls in a short period of due to slow moving
thunderstorms. Flash floods occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall, dam or levee
failure, or a sudden release of water held back by an ice jam.

Flash flood or flood warnings are issued when flash flooding has been observed or is highly imminent. Urban and small stream advisories are issued for inconvenience flooding of small streams and streets and low lying areas such as railroad underpasses and urban storm drains.

  • Know your area's flood risk, flood history, and elevation above flood stage.
  • Have a family emergency plan,
  • Have a predetermined spot away from your home where you and your family can go to if told to evacuate.
  • NEVER drive across a flooded road.
  • Do not attempt to wade across a flooded street or area.
  Flood Warning System

Many times, flooding along the Wisconsin River within Adams County can be predicted in advance, giving ample warning for preparation and evacuation. However, in the event of a flash flood due a large rain event, you may be the first to notice the oncoming situation and have only hours to execute your evacuation plan. Should you observe an oncoming flood situation, notify Adams County Emergency Management at (608) 339-4248.  Tune your radio to WDKM – 106.1 for local and National Weather Service updates. You will also see regular interruption on local radio and television stations advising you of the situation.

NOAA Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service

  What You and Your Family Can Do
  • Monitor a NOAA Weather Radio signal to obtain the latest forecasts and warnings.
  • Make sure the radio receiver has a battery backup.
  • NWS warnings are broadcast on commercial radio and TV stations as well as cable TV channels.
  • Know the county you live in. Severe weather watches and warnings are issued on a county basis.
  • Postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are imminent.
  • Stay off the water if a thunderstorm approaches.
  • If a storm is approaching, seek sturdy shelter.
  What to do and take should your family be evacuated
  • Clothing for a week
  • Prescribed or necessary medication and glasses
  • Important papers and purse or wallet, credit cards, deeds, and checks
  • Personal and toiletry articles
  • Special dietary items such as infant formula
  • Bring books, cards or games for entertainment
  • Household pets should be evacuated. You are responsible for the care and shelter of the animal. Pets are not allowed in public shelters.
  • Lock doors, shut windows and close blinds and draperies. Prepare your home like you were going on vacation.
  • Notify family and friends about what is happening and where you plan to stay
  • Move quickly and calmly
  If you are ordered to stay indoors or “shelter in place” follow these tips
  • Close all doors and windows
  • Do not evacuate your home
  • Turn off air conditioners, furnaces, ventilation fans and other air intakes
  • Listen to the radio for further instructions
  Natural & Beneficial Functions

Floodplains play a valuable role in providing natural and beneficial functions to the area around. Floodplains that are relatively undisturbed provide a wide range of benefits to both human and natural systems. These benefits provide aesthetic pleasure as well as function to provide active processes such as filtering nutrients. Areas along the Wisconsin River other connecting streams are used as a means to filter farm chemical run-off so that these areas can maintain bio-diversity and ecosystem sustainability. Floodplains often contain historic and archeological sites that provide opportunity for education and study. Floodplains enhance waterfowl, fish and other wildlife habitats and provide feeding/breeding grounds. And lastly, floodplains provide natural erosion control and open space so further flooding damage does not occur.

  Drainage System Maintenance

As simple as it may sound, simply keeping smaller ditches and streams free of debris can dramatically improve the run-off capacity of low-lying areas, as well as greatly reduce the occurrence blockage that significantly contributes to flooding. It is illegal to dump materials into a required waterway and violators may be fined. If you see someone in the act of dumping or see debris in one of our watercourses, please contact the Adams County Planning and Zoning Department at (608) 339-4222.

  Flood Insurance 
If you so not have flood insurance, talk to your insurance agent. Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. Flood insurance is only available to those participating communities in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Because of our floodplain management programs that attempt to protect us from the multiple flooding hazards, Adams County is part of the NFIP and thus, residents are able to obtain flood insurance. Additionally, because the County participates in FEMA’s CRS program, flood insurance premiums are discounted.
Be sure to check your policy to ensure you have adequate coverage. Usually these policies cover the building structure, but not the contents. Contents coverage can also be obtained by asking. There is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance coverage becomes effective. Plan ahead; do not wait until a flood is predicted before purchasing flood insurance.
If you are building inside the floodplain, the purchase of flood insurance is mandatory if using a federally regulated/insured bank for a loan.


Saving on Flood Insurance (PDF 147Kb)

FEMA NFIP Map & Zone Grandfather Rules (PDF 2251Kb)