- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 10, 2008

LAKE DELTON, Wis. (AP) | An embankment along a man-made lake gave way under severe flooding Monday, unleashing a powerful current that ripped several homes off their foundations and down the Wisconsin River.

Floodwater threatened dams across the Midwest, and military crews joined desperate sandbagging operations to hold back Indiana streams surging toward record levels. Stormy weekend weather was blamed for 10 deaths, most in the Midwest.

While the Midwest struggled with flooding, the East was locked in a sauna. Heat advisories were posted Monday from the Carolinas to Connecticut, with temperatures topping 100 from Georgia to Virginia. New York City recorded a high of 99.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Monday it would close a 250-mile stretch of the Mississippi River - from Fulton, Ill., to Clarksville, Mo. - as soon as Thursday because of flooding, bringing barge traffic to a halt.

The closure could last up to two weeks, corps spokesman Ron Fournier said.

In Wisconsin, an embankment forming the side of the man-made Lake Delton failed, and the water poured out into the nearby Wisconsin River. The 245-acre lake nearly emptied, washing out part of a highway, sweeping away three homes and tearing apart two others.

“It’s horrible. There’s no way we could stop it,” said Thomas Diehl, a Lake Delton village trustee.

A couple thousand people in Columbia County about 30 miles north of Madison were urged to evacuate below the Wyocena and Pardeeville dams, said Pat Beghin, a spokesman for the county’s emergency management.

The Wyocena Dam’s spillway had washed out, and workers were sandbagging to try to save it, he said. The Pardeeville dam also was overflowing, he said.

About 200 Indiana National Guard members and 140 Marines and sailors joined local emergency agencies Monday in sandbagging a levee of the White River at Elnora, about 100 miles southwest of Indianapolis. The White River was forecast to crest Tuesday at nearby Newberry at 16 feet above flood stage.

By Monday morning, flooding at eight sites in central and southern Indiana had eclipsed levels set in the deluge of March 1913, which had been considered Indiana’s greatest flood in modern times, said Scott Morlock, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Indiana.

President Bush late Sunday declared a major disaster in 29 Indiana counties. Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said nearly a third of his state’s 99 counties need federal help. Wisconsin Gov. James E. Doyle had declared 30 counties in a state of emergency.

The Danville River Dam in Danville overtopped on Monday, and more than 100 people were from an apartment complex, condo building and several homes with airboats, Mayor Nancy Osterhaus said.

In Ontario, Wis., the Kickapoo River left waist-high water on the village’s baseball diamond Sunday and backed up sewers, forcing water up through manhole covers.

Bill Hagerman, 53, vacuumed mud out of his business, Precision Physical Therapy, where sewer water about a 1 1/2 feet deep had coated his weight machines and patient table with muck.

“I got hit hard,” he said.

Along the East Coast, people sweltered through the heat wave.

In the fifth inning of the Kansas City Royals-Yankees game in New York, fans cheered loudly when a cloud moved in front of the sun, then booed moments later when the sun returned.

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