As many as 100 homes could be affected by flood waters in Wisconsin due to the failure of a 120-year-old sand levee along the Wisconsin River, according to a CNN report.
The levee, which is located on the south side of the river in Portage, Wisconsin, about 25 miles north of Madison, began failing Sunday night.
The Wisconsin River crested Sunday at 20.4 feet Ã¢â‚¬“ nearly 3.5 feet above flood level, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). Authorities have been working to evacuate residents from the areas in danger.
Earlier this morning the NWS Milwaukee/Sullivan office warned that once the levee completely fails, it is unknown how far south the flood waters of the Wisconsin River will travel.
An article in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel has more on this story.
Over at Wunderblog Dr. Jeff Masters notes that the Wisconsin river was swollen last week by heavy rains of up to seven inches. Apparently the rains were generated by a plume of very moist air associated with what was Hurricane Karl.
This underscores the point that the weather systems associated with hurricanes can have an impact on the U.S. mainland and in states far from the coastline even if the storm itself does not make U.S. landfall.
The sixth hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season, Hurricane Karl made landfall near Veracruz on the central Mexican Gulf coast as a major hurricane. As of September 23, some 22 deaths have been confirmed as a result of Karl, most in the state of Veracruz. Preliminary losses from the storm are also estimated at 50 billion MXN ($3.9 billion).
The weekendÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s events in Wisconsin are a reminder of the importance of flood insurance. A February 2007 list from the Army Corps of Engineers revealed that 122 levees across the U.S. are at risk of failing.
Check out I.I.I. information on flood insurance.