Engineers check Wis. dams after lake breaches banks

Engineers and National Guard teams examined dams across this storm-deluged state Tuesday looking for signs of damage from the high water that led to the major collapse that nearly emptied Lake Delton.

The huge breach in an embankment holding back Lake Delton released a torrent that washed away three houses and a stretch of highway. The weekend's storm also displaced thousands of Indiana residents and was blamed for 15 deaths in the Midwest and elsewhere.

Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle said the Federal Emergency Management Agency would have teams in the state today to help assess flood damage, and his office said he would seek a federal disaster declaration when that was done.

National Guard teams flew over flooded areas to look at other dams Tuesday, said Mike Goetzman, a spokesman for Wisconsin Emergency Management.

State crews on the ground visited dams throughout the southern and western part of the state to assess damage from the weekend storms.

They also monitored water levels at dams that were seeping or consider in danger of failing, Wisconsin Emergency Management spokeswoman Jessica Iverson said.

The weekend downpours across the Midwest also created flooding concerns along the Mississippi River. The National Weather Service on Tuesday predicted crests of 10 feet above flood stage and higher over the next two weeks at places including Hannibal, Mo., and Quincy and Grafton, Ill. Most of the towns are protected by levees, but outlying areas could be flooded.