The image shows a residential area experiencing significant flooding. Several houses are partially submerged in water, reflecting a high water level that has inundated the area. In the foreground, an American flag is prominently displayed, hanging from a flagpole attached to the porch of a house. The porch itself is right at the water's edge, suggesting the floodwaters have risen quite close to the home. Power lines stretch overhead, unobstructed by the flood. The sky is clear and blue, indicating the weather is calm now, which contrasts with the disaster on the ground. Trees and greenery are visible in the background, and there is no visible movement in the water, indicating the current may be still at the moment. The scene is likely captured after a recent flood event, as the water is relatively calm and the sky is clear.
The city of Prairie du Chien was one of multiple western Wisconsin communities affected by flooding during the spring of 2023. Photo: Katie Rousonelos, Wisconsin Emergency Management.

The spring of 2023 saw historic flooding hit parts of Wisconsin, which forced roads to close and put communities in danger. As spring weather returns to the state, ReadyWisconsin asks everyone to plan for the possibility floodwaters will rise again.

To encourage everyone in the state to be prepared, Gov. Tony Evers has declared Feb. 25 through Mar. 2 as Flood Safety Awareness Week in Wisconsin.

“Flooding remains the most common natural disaster in Wisconsin, putting lives at risk and causing costly damage for property owners and local governments,” said Wisconsin Emergency Management Administrator Greg Engle. “During Flood Safety Awareness Week, we encourage everyone to take time to assess their flood risk and learn how to protect themselves before, during, and after a flood.”

There were 77 people killed in the U.S. in 2023 due to flooding, while 81-percent of flooding fatalities in Wisconsin occur when people enter flooded areas. There were no deaths caused by flooding last year in Wisconsin.

While you can’t always stop waters from rising, the following tips can help improve safety for you and your community before a flood:

  • Know your flood risk. Assess the potential for flooding on your property if you live in a flood plain, near a body of water, or have a basement. Plan with your family for what you will do if the floodwaters begin to rise.
  • Consider flood insurance. Most homeowner, rental, and business insurance policies generally do not cover flooding. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Most flood coverage requires 30 days to take effect. Find more information about flood insurance options at
  • Build a “Go Kit.” Include items such as food, water, cash, and medications. Have copies of important documents (personal identification like passports and birth certificates, medical records, insurance policies, and financial documents) in a waterproof container.
  • Make an emergency plan. If you can’t make it home or need to leave quickly, identify a meeting place for your family. Make a list of emergency numbers and important contacts.
  • Keep water out of and away from your house. Clean gutters regularly, direct downspouts away from your foundation, repair cracks in your foundation, improve grading so water flows away from your house, and cover window wells.
  • Move valuables out of the basement. Elevate or flood-proof your washer, dryer, water heater, and HVAC systems. Relocate electrical outlets to three feet above the floor.

Follow these tips during and after a flood:

  • Stay up to date on the forecast. Identify multiple ways to receive alerts about dangerous weather conditions and potential flooding, such as a NOAA Weather Radio, trusted local news outlets, and mobile weather apps.
  • Never drive or walk through flooded areas. Turn around, don’t drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can sweep adults off their feet, while just 12 inches can carry away a small car or 24 inches for larger vehicles.
  • Take steps to protect your health:
    • Stay out of floodwaters, which can contain bacteria from human and animal waste, sharp objects, hazardous chemicals, downed power lines, and other dangerous items.
    • If your home floods, follow cleaning and disinfection guidelines to avoid mold growth.
    • If the power goes out for more than four hours, throw out refrigerated food or any food that came into contact with floodwater.
    • If your drinking water well is flooded, disinfect the well and test the water to make sure it’s safe before drinking it.
    • If you use a generator, keep it outside at least 20 feet from your home to avoid illness or death from carbon monoxide, which can occur in enclosed spaces.

A copy of Gov. Evers’ proclamation is available here.

For more information on flood safety, visit You can also follow ReadyWisconsin on Facebook, Instagram, and X for emergency preparedness tips throughout the year.