Series: Extreme Precipitation And Wisconsin's Climate

Climate change is already beginning to affect Wisconsin in subtle but important ways. As the average global temperature creeps upward, climatologists have projected that the upper Midwest will experience heavier precipitation. This shift means not just a greater volume of water in the form of rain or snow, but also more intense storms happening more frequently. While climate change on its own isn't necessarily the culprit behind a given storm, its effects can intensify existing weather patterns and make long-running climatic cycles more unpredictable. While researchers work to understand how climate change interacts with seasonal cycles like El Niño and how human activities affect the outcome of catastrophic floods, communities across the state face new challenges protecting people, infrastructure and their economy.
 
Audio: 
Shared via
WPR
Water levels on Wisconsin's rivers and lakes are starting to rise due to snow melt. But officials from the state Department of Natural Resources warn groundwater levels in the state are already at or near record highs.
Audio: 
Shared via
WPR
Winter is historically when water levels recede in the Great Lakes. But in January 2020, Lake Michigan broke a 33-year-old record high, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Shared via
PBS Wisconsin
Wisconsin is putting in for a FEMA assessment of Lake Michigan shoreline damage in Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties following winter storms and lakeshore flooding. Racine County Emergency Management coordinator David Maack discusses the damage to public infrastructure.
As climate change increases the likelihood of more extreme storms and subsequent floods in coming years, what is the state doing about the potential risks to dams? What does the situation look like at a more local level?
Audio: 
Shared via
WPR
Wisconsin in 2018 saw its most sewer overflow events since 2010, with increasing volumes of discharged waste. Experts say the problem plagues communities across the Great Lakes. Driving the spike: intensifying rainfall due to climate change.
Audio: 
Shared via
WPR
Since 2008, there have been 14 dams that have failed statewide, said Tanya Lourigan, state dam safety engineer with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Audio: 
Shared via
WPR
As communities are under threat from more frequent, intense storms, a report by the nonprofit Pew Charitable Trusts found Wisconsin is among 13 cities and states that have been able to reduce their vulnerability to flooding.
Over the last few years, bridges and roads have washed away during flash floods across Wisconsin. But how can engineers tackle the problem in order to prevent this kind of infrastructure damage in the future?
Shared via
WPR
A task force in Monroe County will focus immediately on warning people who live in watersheds that have faced repeated flooding in the last 12 years. But the group will also take a long-range approach to dealing with climate change.
Audio: 
Shared via
WPR
As Wisconsin braces for climate change and a future with more flooding, a conservationist discusses the role that wetlands can play.