Flash flooding yesterday turned normally placid Lake Delton in Wisconsin into a raging river that swept away three houses in the summer resort community in an instant, leaving only a mud puddle behind.
"I saw [our house] crack in half. It was hanging over the cliff. Everything was washed out and then it was, 'boom,'" said Tom Pekar, whose home was destroyed in the flooding Monday.
His wife Tina said they lost everything. "It's just our dream house. Now it's gone," she said.
An embankment along the 245-acre manmade lake gave way Monday, unleashing a powerful current that ripped homes off their foundations.
Towns across the Midwest were hard-hit by pounding weekend rainstorms, blamed for 10 deaths nationwide.
Drenching rains in corn-growing states like Iowa, Illinois and Indiana flooded corn fields and made it difficult for farmers to plant, causing corn prices to reach record highs on commodities exchanges this week.
Meanwhile, much of the East Coast is stewing in sauna-like heat, with 25 cities logging record-breaking high temperatures Monday and many areas set to hit 100 degrees today.
Power grids are strained to the limit in many cities along the Eastern seaboard. In New York City, demand for electricity Monday beat last year's biggest day, set in August.
Places like Gays Mills, Wisc., a tiny town of 625 in the southwestern portion of the state, were hardest hit by the flooding rains. The town struggled to survive after a devastating flood 10 months ago and was submerged again Monday as water spilled over the banks of the swollen Kickapoo River.
Tom Diehl runs one of the most popular attractions on the popular tourist destination the Wisconsin Dells, the Tommy Bartlett Ski and Sky Show. As he watched much of his livelihood drain away, he said, "It was just like pulling a plug on a bathtub, it just went."
Lake Denton residents Tim and Liz Fromm said they couldn't even watch as their house was shattered by floodwaters and washed away.
"It was a feeling of sickness, our pride and joy, what we worked for our whole life," Tim Fromm said. "After the fact, we saw it a good hundred times on TV."
Voicing a sentiment of many who lived on the lake, Fromm called the flooding "surreal."
"I woke up this morning like, 'Did this really happen?'"
The Associated Press contributed to this report.