Rising winds damaged the fragile dikes protecting marooned residents of the upper Red River Valley as residents fought to protect their towns and farms from the flooding river, which is 15 miles wide in places over a 100-mile stretch.

In some rural areas, only treetops and farm silos are visible. Cattle huddle on high rises of ground and farmers bring them feed in boats.

The river crested at 49.09 feet in East Grand Forks, Minn., Thursday, 21 feet over flood stage, and about one foot below the top of most dikes.

Miles of earthen and sandbag dikes in East Grand Forks, population 8,400, and Grand Forks, 54,000, show wear from the river's velocity.

National Guard helicopters patrolled flooded rural areas, where many phones are out of order, seeking marooned families who want out or need food or medicine.

The U.S. Corps of Engineers said more than 825,650 acres have been under water in eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota. The corps estimates damage to property, crops and slashed farm production in the flood area at $59 million.

Elsewhere in the nation, steady rains that dumped almost five inches of rain within 24 hours on parts of central and southwestern Maine brought some localized flooding to northern New England.