Looking Back at the Floods of 2008

Looking Back at the Floods of 2008

In June of 2008 Devil’s Lake State Park, and much of this part of the state experienced some amazing flooding.  The park was closed for several weeks while repairs were made and we waited for the water to come down to a safer level.  According to a 2009 report in the local paper, it took a pump 7 months to lower the lake level by 5 feet!

Here are some photos from June of 2008.

Of course, we often talk about the 2008 flood as if it was “The Big One”, but for Devil’s Lake, it was really just a re-run of the flood we experienced about a decade earlier in 1993. The ’93 flood is legendary not only for leaving people stranded on rooftops and holding on to trees at nearby Skillet Creek Campground (Now Wheelers) but for the narrow escape partiers dancing at Devi-Bara resort (Now long-gone.) had to make through waist-high water! It was said that they July 17, 1993, storm unloaded 12 inches of rain in an hour here in the Baraboo Hills!

Beyond the big floods, we most often hear about, Devil’s Lake and the Baraboo Hills have had more than their fair share of lesser-talked-about floods since the 1990s. In fact, we owe the floods of 2010 for the final surrender of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources at Parfrey’s Glen SNA. Updates and repairs after the 1993 floods washed out in 2008 and again 2010. At this point, Parfrey’s Glen was closed for around year before it was opened again in fall of 2011 with much less infrastructure. These days, there are no maintained trails in the most popular sections of Parfrey’s Glen State Natural Area.

Interestingly, very heavy rain events now drop 31 percent more water in the Midwest than they did 50 years ago.*  Scientists expect us to see more heat and less summer precipitation in the Midwest due to our changing climate, but when it does rain it will pour due to an increase evaporation and the amount water vapor in the air. Looking back at our recent history and with the pump working hard to lower the high water in Devil’s Lake again this year, those predicted changes seem right on target.

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***Obligatory Disclaimer:  This website is NOT associated with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The views expressed in this blog are mine and do not represent the views of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

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