Dam failure - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Dam failure

This dam in Alabama overflowed after a period of heavy rain. Dam failure or levee breeches can occur with little warning. This dam in Alabama overflowed after a period of heavy rain. Dam failure or levee breeches can occur with little warning.

STATEWIDE - There are are more than 80,000 dams in the United States, according to the 2007 update to the National Inventory of Dams. Approximately one third of these pose a "high" or "significant" hazard to life and property if failure occurs.

Dam failure or levee breeches can occur with little warning. Intense storms may produce a flood in a few hours or even minutes for upstream locations. Flash floods occur within six hours of the beginning of heavy rainfall, and dam failure may occur within hours of the first signs of breaching.

Other failures and breeches can take much longer to occur, from days to weeks, as a result of debris jams or the accumulation of melting snow.

Source: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

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