LAKE DELTON, Wis. – 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.
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.
A new storm system was headed toward the Ohio Valley from the southern Plains on Monday. Oklahoma got up to 6 inches of rain by late morning and utilities reported nearly 5,000 customers blacked out, and the National Weather Service said as much as 3 inches of rain could fall on already waterlogged Indiana late Monday.
The weather service posted a tornado warning for south-central Illinois and a severe thunderstorm warning for Indiana.
Some 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 today 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 with the U.S. Geological Survey in Indiana.
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.