tagged w/ Old Dams
Residents flee 'catastrophic' failure of Iowa dam
Dam fails in eastern Iowa, causing massive flooding
By the CNN Wire Staff
July 24, 2010 5:08 p.m. EDT
* A dam has failed in eastern Iowa
* The breach has forced residents to flee the area
* The breach was caused by "massive rain," officials say
(CNN) -- A dam on an eastern Iowa lake suffered a "catastrophic" failure Saturday, sending a massive amount of water into nearby communities and forcing residents to flee, officials said.
The Lake Delhi dam, about 45 miles north of Cedar Rapids, failed as a result of "massive rain -- a very unusually high amount this season," according to Jim Flansburg, communications director for Gov. Chet Culver.
Culver told CNN that nearly 10 inches of rain had recently fallen in a 12-hour period in the area and was "too much water for the dam to hold."
The roads on either side of the dam -- which were part of the dam's containment measures -- apparently gave out as a result of the rainfall, Flansburg told CNN.
The National Weather Service reported a 30-foot-wide gap in the berm alongside the dam.
Video showed massive amounts of water violently gushing from the pool behind the dam into the river below. Nearby homes and buildings were under water up to their eaves.
Evacuation sirens sounded about 1 p.m. (2 p.m. ET) for the approximately 700 residents of Hopkinton, who had about five minutes to flee, Flansburg said.
No injuries were reported.
The town of Monticello, where Culver was meeting with emergency personnel, was also under a flood warning.
Culver activated the National Guard in the area to help with recovery efforts, his office said.
Culver credited the lack of injuries to local officials providing early warning to residents in the flood plain about the possibility of a dam breach.
The governor said such a failure had never happened before.Residents flee 'catastrophic' failure of Iowa dam
Dam fails in eastern... more