9.6.08

THE WATER CANNOT OVERTOP THE LEVEE. When it does, bad things happen.

Brenda Ketelhut, the secretary at Lake Delton Elementary School, where village officials opened a shelter, said she stopped to see the lake Monday.

"It's unbelievable. You'd never believe it would happen," Ketelhut said. "I saw where the earth gave way and Lake Delton flowed out over County Highway A. ... It's a wonderful area, but Mother Nature let it rain too much."

Dell Creek Dam on Lake Delton did not fail, said Laurel Steffes, spokeswoman for the state Department of Natural Resources, but state officials worried about other dams that were overflowing or near failure.

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, Beghin said. The Pardeeville dam also was overflowing, he said.

The Upper Spring Dam in Palmyra was failing, state emergency management officials said. But only one house in the rural area was in danger, Palmyra town chairman Stewart Calkins said.

Madison television station WMTV has video of Lake Delton finding a new path to the sea. The lake is an impoundment that provides a wide flat surface for the water ski show as well as a launching ramp for the Dells Ducks. I will alert readers to fundraising efforts for Southern Wisconsin.

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