VANTAGE, Wash. - Engineers have found a 65-foot-long crack in a Columbia River dam in central Washington.

Grant County Public Utility District officials say they plan to lower the water level at the Wanapum Dam, just south of Vantage near Interstate 90.Officials plan to lower the water level by 20 feet so inspectors can get a better idea of how serious the damage is.

There's no immediate threat to public safety from the crack in the Dam, Grant County Public Utility District spokesman Thomas Stredwick said Friday.

But the National Weather Service said a flash flood watch was in effect until Monday morning because those that may be recreating on the river below Wanapum Dam should be aware that the potential exists for a rapid increase in flows.

Dam failure in the rural area south of the small town of Vantage would primarily affect farmers, fishermen and power generation.

The dam can generate more than 1,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power.Wanapum Dam was built in 1959 and is more than a mile long.
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