Sunday, July 25, 2010

Iowa dam collapses as flooding hits state

John Pape in Disaster News Network: After days of torrential rains and a record flood crest on the Maquoketa River, the Delhi Dam in eastern Iowa failed around midday on Saturday, sending water crashing into the nearby town of Hopkinton. Authorities immediately began evacuations and emergency flood control activities in communities downstream from the breach.

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver was in Monticello, one of the threatened communities, and immediately activated the Iowa National Guard to assist in evacuation and rescue operations. Jim Flansburg, Culver’s communications director, called the collapse “catastrophic,” saying the torrential rains experienced throughout northeast Iowa simply overwhelmed the dam.

“The rainfall has been massive; there’s been between 9 – 10 inches in the last 12 hours alone, and that was too much pressure on the dam,” Flansburg said. Delaware County authorities began monitoring the dam closely Saturday morning, warning residents to leave the area as early as daybreak.

At around 1 p.m., water eroded the earthen approach road on the south side of the dam’s center concrete spillway structure, sending water crashing 40 feet down into the downstream portion of the Maquoketa River…

A farm in the vicinity of Hopkinton, Iowa, near the collapsed Delhi Dam, shot by Ajasondunlap, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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