UPDATED AT 8:50 P.M.
The National Weather Service in the Twin Cities has issued a flash flood watch for parts of Rusk County, Wis., along the Flambeau River near Ladysmith for a potential dam failure.
According to the Associated Press, a small sinkhole developed in an earthen embankment east of the powerhouse. As a precaution, Xcel is lowering the reservoir 6 inches an hour for 24 hours, to bring the water level down by 12 feet and relieve pressure.
There are no evacuations; the dam is located on the Flambeau River about seven miles northeast of Ladysmith.
Here’s the flash flood watch notice:
XCEL ENERGY IN LADYSMITH ADVISED THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE THAT A POTENTIAL DAM FAILURE AT BIG FALLS HYDRO DAM IS DEVELOPING. WE ARE IN CONTACT WITH XCEL ENERGY AND ARE BEING ADVISED ON THIS DEVELOPING SITUATION. IF A DAM FAILURE IS IMMINENT…THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE WILL ISSUE A FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR AREAS DOWNSTREAM OF THE HYDRO DAM ON THE FLAMBEAU RIVER.
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN TWIN CITIES/ CHANHASSEN HAS ISSUED A FLASH FLOOD WATCH FOR A PORTION OF RUSK COUNTY…WHICH INCLUDES AREAS ALONG THE FLAMBEAU RIVER BETWEEN BIG FALLS DAM AND RUSK COUNTY AIRPORT.
* THROUGH WEDNESDAY MORNING.
* POTENTIAL DAM FAILURE OF BIG FALLS HYDRO DAM.
* PLEASE BE AWARE THAT RESIDENTS ALONG FLAMBEAU RIVER DOWNSTREAM FROM THE DAM SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE SITUATION AND BE PREPARE TO TAKE ACTION IF A DAM FAILURE IS IMMINENT.