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Dam Busts in Southern Missouri, People Washed Away

[Spoiler: Every one is accounted for or I would not make this joke. And please - please for the love of God people read what this is filed under before you comment]

I just can't believe how stupid some people are. They lived below a dam. They should have know that if the dam breaks they might all be washed away.

A wall of water is rushing down the Black River in Reynolds County south of the Upper Taum Sauk Lake Dam after the dam failed.

A fire dispatcher in Lesterville tells News 4 that crews released water from the reservoiraum Sa but apparently failed to open the dam. The dispatcher says that the pressure from the added water caused the dam to fail, sending a wall of water thundering down the Black River.

There are reports that the flash flooding has washed away several homes. The bridge at Highway N has been washed away. A tractor-trailer on Highway N was reportedly washed away. There unconfirmed reports that some residents are missing.

Marty Elmore with the Missouri Highway Patrol tells News 4 that residents who live along the river south of the dam are in peril.

The National Weather Service says that water levels along the river will rise 20 feet in a matter of minutes.

What morons would live where they might be flooded by a dam break? And why did they let people live there. I hope the federal government doesn't give them a single penny. There were worries about this in the past but they still let those people live there. They should make all those people move.

Go here if you'd like the rest of the story.


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Comments (38)

We could relocate the Feder... (Below threshold)
joe:

We could relocate the Federal Helium Reserve to below New Orleans. Problem solved.

I AM SO OFFENDED!!!<p... (Below threshold)
harrison:

I AM SO OFFENDED!!!

(hehe)

I wonder how many people wi... (Below threshold)

I wonder how many people will bitch about this even though you posted a spoiler.

hehe. It probably would he... (Below threshold)
RobC:

hehe. It probably would help if the byline and "Filed under:" line was up at the top of the article. Other than that, I can't believe the shortsightedness of the people living there. Did the Corps of Engineers design this dam too?

Oh, we get the joke.<... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

Oh, we get the joke.

But it still doesn't change the fact that New Orleans is in a really shitty location. Same for Venice -- IIRC they've been flooded recently too.

I was on the Illinois side of the river when the Mississippi flooded in 93. I like what the gov't did after that -- they prevented people from rebuilding in certain places. It's common sense. Everyone knows the river WILL flood, but people built there anyways. Now, they still farm there, they just don't live right there.

I expect NO to stay right where it is, but as a taxpayer I'll be pretty pissed it htey go right back to business as usual and wait for it to happen again.

You think I'm joking about not living some places? I assure you I am not. I take things like that into account any time I move some place, and there are places I would not at all consider living.

blah blah blah blah - Tim y... (Below threshold)
Paul:

blah blah blah blah - Tim you have no clue what you are talking about. I'm working on a post on the myth behind New orleans flooding. -- Trust me you have no clue.

New Orleans should move the day after New York does.

This just proves George Bus... (Below threshold)
WrongWingLiberal:

This just proves George Bush hates black people.

I havta agree some here. I ... (Below threshold)
WrongWingLiberal:

I havta agree some here. I believe all peoples living 50 miles from a coast line (east cost, west cost, gulf costs) should not see a dime of taxpayer money in the event of a natural disaster. Also, all of Florida. Also, the 4 states that are in Tornado Alley, plus those states prone to blizzards.
So pack your bags America, everyone must live in Utah!

Said Tim in PA...>... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Said Tim in PA...

>You think I'm joking about not living some places? I assure you I am not. I take things like that into account any time I move some place, and there are places I would not at all consider living.

I'm glad you are so much more responsible than I am... You'd never live where there was any F L O O D I N G.

I'm glad you're so much better than that.

I just hope you never click this link.

"Virtually no state in the union has the challenges of flooding that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does.... "

WrongWingLiberal you forgot... (Below threshold)
Paul:

WrongWingLiberal you forgot California

So pack your bags Americ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

So pack your bags America, everyone must live in Utah!

Don't you remember when a tornado ripped thru Salt Lake City a few years back?

Essentially, anyone who lives on planet Earth, with its varying and volatile climate, annoying and destructive plate system, and vulnerability to alien invasion, is just asking for trouble and deserves what they get.

Pack it up Earth, we must move to LV-426! Surely there are no problems there.

A lot of my family have bee... (Below threshold)
Maureen:

A lot of my family have been living there since the 1600's. In 1963 the federal government
took away Proffitt Mountain from my family in order to supply electric for people in St. Louis. And before that the government went to the same mountain and rounded up most of my Indian ancestors and put them on the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma. When generations have lived in one place for 350 years, they're not going to leave. And I don't blame them.

oh crap. I agree with manti... (Below threshold)
Paul:

oh crap. I agree with mantis again. I hate it when that happens. ;-)

Why on earth would anybody ... (Below threshold)

Why on earth would anybody live in Pennsylvania!?

Why don't we start discussi... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Why don't we start discussing the super volcanos in North America?

You know, Long Caldera in CA, Yellowstone (the most threatening due to size and schedule) and...there's one in North New Mexico whose name I can't recall as I write this but it's near the Brokeback Mountain Range (honestly).

Any one of those would make the issue of flooding, anywhere, to be more mockworthy than even Paul has made it.

Oh, and that "the entire state of CA is going to slide off into the ocean."

Which COULD, feasibly, occur if Yellowstone goes.

And, it seems like only yesterday that I was referring to the New Madrid fault in the Midwest and now just look: television is mentioning it in regards to flooding in Missouri. I must be psychic.

Actually, I hope I'm not, what with the mentioning of Yellowstone, particularly. Take a look at the potentially and likely bad news. The only good thing about it is that if/when Yellowstone goes, or worse, two or more in North America among our very own super volcanos, none of us humans will be around to suffer much. Nor worldwide...it'll be doom, no doubt about it, and the only humans who could survive would have to have a huge lot of canned peaches available.

So, Paul, you go ahead and live anywhere you want: flood plain, fault line, below sea level, on the beach, in the bayou...life is short, for us all.

And, <a href="http://palaeo... (Below threshold)
-S-:

And, this one -- all by itself -- brought about the extinction of something like ninety to ninety-nine percent of life worldwide, causing the Permian extinction. Just one super volcano. Yellowstone would be similarly globally catastrophic.

And, yes, I am sincerely worried about it, although there is very little me worrying about it will or could accomplish other than urging people to take greater care for their eternities and where they'll be spending them.

I understand why you might ... (Below threshold)
Larry:

I understand why you might think people living in Lesterville that is near the Taum Sauk Break are morons living where they were. But the thing you don't understand the situtation. Black River starts in this area. It has three forks. The East Fork is where the problem was. Lesterville isn't actually under Profit Mountain as you might think. The East fork comes down the west slope of Taum Sauk before moving south. No one would ever think this could happen. Like the people in the Twin Towers, what were they thinking being in those buildings. No one ever knew.

This are is one of the most beautiful places in America. I love gling to Profit Mountain, where the lake is and Taum Sauk Mtn. By the way the lake is not on Taum Sauk Mtn but Profit Mtn.

Also they made a mistake about the water getting up to 20 feet. Didn't happen. That was a assumption of the Weather service that the lower lake levy would fail too, but it didn't. Sure it was bad, but it wasn't as bad as it was painted to be.

Someday come visit this area. Very nice. I live in st Louis, 120 miles away. But I visit this area a lot. I would live in this area in a heart beat if I could.

Because I have the thinking I have to be a moron to live in a city like St Louis. there are more lives lost there than what happened today from this lake.

Larry

"<a href="http://palaeo.gly... (Below threshold)
-S-:

"Flood basalt eruptions"!! Kinda scary in a prescient sorta' way.

On the topic of people post... (Below threshold)
doctorj:

On the topic of people posting their opinion that New Orleaneans need to move - I read this on another blog and loved it.
“Before I prepare my seafood dinner, I think I’ll put on some jazz, sip my sugared coffee, turn up the thermostat, and lecture New Orleanians about how unwise it is to live where they do. I should have told them in person when I vacationed there last year, but I was too busy having the time of my life.”

Are we going to get this dr... (Below threshold)
J:

Are we going to get this drivel every time tradgedy strikes another community?


Somehow, that absolves you from living in a place that will flood again.....

Knock the chip off your shoulder and move already.....

"I'm glad you are so much m... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

"I'm glad you are so much more responsible than I am... You'd never live where there was any F L O O D I N G."

I live on a mountain (at least we call them mountains here in PA), and the closest I'll ever come to flooding is when sump pump in the basement actually has to do some work. (like when it rained 8 inches in one day a couple months back) The ground right here is flat for a good ways around, and there's rock under it, so unless the whole damn mountain goes, we won't be sliding down a hillside or anything. I suppose a tree could fall on the house, but that's covered under the insurance.

I've seen plenty of flooding in PA as well -- I witnessed the mess in Harrisburg in 1996 firsthand, and several times over the last couple years there has been flooding in various places in my county. There are PLENTY of places in PA that flood. I do not live in those places.

You talk about the "myth" of New Orleans flooding. Oddly, I seem to recall lots of footage of houses with water up to their eaves.

It's not that I don't think people should live in New Orleans -- by all means, go knock yourself out -- it's that I resent having my government use tax dollars to rebuild when it was so flamingly OBVIOUS that this would happen, and then having the residents be so damn flippant about moving back without, it seems, having a plan to keep it from happening again.


- "Why on earth would anybody live in Pennsylvania!?"

You know, I ask myself that question rather frequently -- I don't exactly plan to stay here.

"They" shouldn't stop peopl... (Below threshold)
Tom:

"They" shouldn't stop people from occupying land that they own or rent, regardless of where it is. But, that said, government (i.e., taxpayers) shouldn't pay idiots a dammed (pun) cent if where they live happens to be in harms way.

The superintendent is requi... (Below threshold)
Jo:

The superintendent is required by law to live in the state park he/she supervises. Johnson's Shut-Ins state park was there long before the pumped storage hydro plant. The park is there because of some really cool rock formations in the river, which by definition cannot be moved. The plant was there for 42 years with no problems until yesterday. Reynolds County did have a disaster drill scheduled ironically for Wednesday.

Therefore, the rants about 'people shouldn't be allowed to live there' are just that. Rants. Most people don't live there. Just thank any god you might have that this happened on a cold wednesday in December and not a Saturday in July when the park would be packed with tourists.

Larry,I used to li... (Below threshold)
Taz:

Larry,

I used to live in St Louis too, saw a bumper sticker once that said "Hell is a city, not unlike St Louis".

Too funny.

I hope Wizbang! keeps an ey... (Below threshold)
Taz:

I hope Wizbang! keeps an eye on this story, I'm hoping to hear a happy ending. AmerenUE should step up & pay for the homes & medical bills of those families who got injured and houses destroyed, not the gov't.

I'm betting UE will eventually pay up, but only after threat of lawsuits.

Larry- You got caught in th... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Larry- You got caught in the Satire trap... You're new here so you get a free pass.

I'm not mocking you or our people. I'm mocking the people who keep saying New Orleans should move. Where exactly is that safe nirvana away from mother nature?

I really love when the people from California say it... They are potentially the dumbest.

***************

Tim, have you called complained about people living in Allegheny county???? I hope so.

BTW- I didn't say New Orleans flooding was a myth... I said there was a myth behind it. (I worded it poorly, but you could have read it twice, I'll call it a draw)

---
>It's not that I don't think people should live in New Orleans -- by all means, go knock yourself out -- it's that I resent having my government use tax dollars to rebuild when it was so flamingly OBVIOUS that this would happen,

OH? It was "flamingly OBVIOUS" this would happen? It was obvious a floodwall would fail? You knew the floodwall would fail and you kept it to yourself?

Can you come down and tell us where they will fail in the future? I'll pay ya out my own pocket if you have that kind of knowledge.

I'm glad it was so obvious to you, the people who designed the floodwalls (which BTW 100 days ago you had never heard of) sure thought they were up the task.


>and then having the residents be so damn flippant about moving back without, it seems, having a plan to keep it from happening again.

OH? People are "damn flippant" about moving back without levee protection? The New Orleans rebuilding is booming and nobody's asking about Cat 5 levees??? Where you down here to see the people who are so "damn flippant" about he levees?

Have you spoken to anyone who has been down here and they told you that?

Can you cite for me a SINGLE newspaper story about how people are swarming back to New Orleans to rebuild, levees be damned?

The truth is Tim, New Orleans is in basically the same state it was 100 days ago. Nobody will spend a penny until we figure out what is up with the levees. There is no rebuilding (of any size) happening in New Orleans. It's dead.

You see... (and I'm not bashing you personally Tim) That's the problem -and my point- people make wildly incorrect claims with zero basis in fact.

You have not one fact to back up any of what you just said.

All I'm asking -and dare I say it is a reasonable request- is that if you don't know what is going on down here, either take the time to learn or have the self-discipline to avoid commenting on it.

Is that not reasonable?

WrongWingLiberal you for... (Below threshold)
WrongWingLiberal:

WrongWingLiberal you forgot California
Posted by: Paul

Not entirely. It's just a matter of time before Pat Robertson commands God to push California into the ocean. So that state doesn't count.

"OH? It was "flamingly OBVI... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

"OH? It was "flamingly OBVIOUS" this would happen? It was obvious a floodwall would fail? You knew the floodwall would fail and you kept it to yourself?

Can you come down and tell us where they will fail in the future? I'll pay ya out my own pocket if you have that kind of knowledge.

I'm glad it was so obvious to you, the people who designed the floodwalls (which BTW 100 days ago you had never heard of) sure thought they were up the task. "

I was aware of the floodwalls a hell of a lot longer than 100 days ago. I'd been aware of possibility of exactly what happened down there for years, and as early as the Friday afternoon before Katrina hit, that was pretty much the only topic of conversation among my friends and I.

I still assert that this did not come as a surprise, and posting satire about other poor souls who get washed away, etc., doesn't change that. I you had asked me in 2000 if I would be willing to move to New Orleans, I'd have laughed at you.

And yes, I think other people in my own state who live where it floods over and over again are fools.

"The truth is Tim, New Orleans is in basically the same state it was 100 days ago. Nobody will spend a penny until we figure out what is up with the levees. There is no rebuilding (of any size) happening in New Orleans. It's dead."

I don't see any practical difference from my point of view, between "spending lots of money", and "will be spending lots of money at some indeterminate point in the future". It really would not bother me if I had any faith that it would be spent in a useful manner and that whoever ends up in charge of it would take the project as far as it needs to go. I'd rather see 2 or 3 or 4 times as much money spent to do the job right, rather than the band-aids and spending free-for-all I honestly expect to see. I'd like to be proven wrong.

It doesn't surprise me that this is a hot-button topic for you - it affects you personally. But I get worked up myself because so many people seemed to have no idea that it could happen.

It's just a matter of ti... (Below threshold)

It's just a matter of time before Pat Robertson commands God to push California into the ocean.

Well, WTF is Pat waiting for!?

>I was aware of the floo... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>I was aware of the floodwalls a hell of a lot longer than 100 days ago. I'd been aware of possibility of exactly what happened down there for years,

>I get worked up myself because so many people seemed to have no idea that it could happen.

My most humble apologies Tim.

If you knew the floodwalls were going to break 4 feet below what they were designed for then you truly are omnipotent. All us poor stupid New Orleanians though they hold at least the amount of water they had held in the past. They didn't. - Oh, I'm sorry, you knew that.

Do you think you could find it in your heart to apply at the Corps of engineers and walk the levees with them and tell them where it will break next? I know you think us non-psychic mortals down here are not worthy of your help but we sure need it.

Let me ask you while I have you... Are there any other large civil engineered projects about to fail? Dams, bridges, buildings etc? Maybe with your psychic powers we can save some lives... Please, won't you help us mere mortals?

And why did they ... (Below threshold)
MikeB:


And why did they let people live there. I hope the federal government doesn't give them a single penny

I agree with you Paul that those who are saying that people shouldn't be _allowed_ to live here or there are wrong. However, the second sentence above confounds me. I don't care where people live as long as THEY accept the risk and the consequences associated with living there. The government shouldn't give ANY of them a damn dime simple because they suffered a loss. If you're going to ask me (read:ask government) to come in and bail people out, then by damn I (read: government) should have a say in where people are and are not allowed to live.

Pick one other the other:
choose where you live and accept the risk associated with it on your own
or
we (read: government) will decide where you should or should not live since we (read: government) are financially responsible for what happens.

- MikeB

Hey MikeB... Where is your ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Hey MikeB... Where is your Nirvana?

Where do you live that has never had any bad weather? Can you tell all us poor peasants the place that we have your approval to live where nothing bad happens?

Where do you live Mike?

"If you knew the floodwa... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

"If you knew the floodwalls were going to break 4 feet below what they were designed for then you truly are omnipotent. All us poor stupid New Orleanians though they hold at least the amount of water they had held in the past. They didn't. - Oh, I'm sorry, you knew that. "

I didn't say they I knew they would fail, I said that I had heard of them before 100 days ago, which you had doubted. It doesn't take a PhD to be passingly familiar with the concept of a levee.

As I said before, I'm a nobody. I have no advanced degrees in engineering. But it had been my opinion for quite some time that New Orleans, in general, was a mess waiting to happen. Just because it was my opinion that this would happen doesn't mean that it wasn't some sort of freak occurence or, as seems increasingly likely, a screw up on the part of the Corps of Engineers (as you're fond of pointing out). Sure, it might be reasonable to expect the levees to hold at least as much as they've held in the past, but it is not reasonable to expect that they'll never have too much thrown at them. Too much that was, in this case, a lot less than it should have been.

It didn't take a clairvoyant to see that coming. I wasn't the only person who held that opinion - others did, and spoke up, and were largely ignored excepting eternal pessimists such as myself.

I'm not taking the MikeB postion here and saying people shouldn't be "allowed" to live there or that people should be left penniless to their own devices.

You put up your satire, and I comment on it. You wouldn't want to look into your comments one day and find an echo chamber, right? I think that in discussing the aftermath of this that it is important, though perhaps annoying, that a few people on the sidelines jump up and down and say "I told you so", if only so that people might ask a few more "what ifs" next time around.

I wrote a paper once on large scale acts of terrorism. The professor didn't really like the opinions I expressed in that paper. In fact, most of the people who read it thought I was full of crap. It was my first year in college, so I probably was. That paper dropped my grade in the class from a B to a D. But you see, I may or may not have supported my thesis well enough, but I still asked questions that not enough people were asking. I got that paper back with a lot of nasty comments in the margins, the last week of August 2001.

I just cannot shake the suspicion that too many of the residents of New Orleans will, after a few years, go back to the "Ho hum, nothing bad will happen here" attitude.

I think I've pretty much commented myself out on this. As I've said, I'm a pessimist, and I hope to be proven wrong.

I have to respectfully disa... (Below threshold)
Maureen Millikan:

I have to respectfully disagree with some of you. When a family lives on one piece of property for 250 years (plus native Americans even longer) and the government moves in and allows a dam and reservoir to be built on top of them, then yes, either the company or the government should pay. Two to three counties of people should not have to pick up and move after living there that long just because a large corporation decides to take over.

We're not talking about people who moved there last year, knowing full well that the dam and reservoir were there. That would be a different scenario altogether.

Paul said:==========... (Below threshold)
MikeB:

Paul said:
==================================
Hey MikeB... Where is your Nirvana?

Where do you live that has never had any bad weather? Can you tell all us poor peasants the place that we have your approval to live where nothing bad happens?

Where do you live Mike?

==================================

Nice way to miss the point entirely, Paul. I can't seem to figure out where I said there was an area without risks.

The point, which you did get, is that some places are considered higher risk than others. To wit, the government backed insurance plans on the Gulf Coast. In my area, I have no problem acquiring private insurance. However, due to the increased RISK of incidences on the Gulf Coast, there's either a higher insurance premium in the areas the few private insurers or the government underwrites the policy because no one who has to put his/her own money on the line is willing to assume that risk at any price the market will pay. So, obviously, the places where private insurers will not cover are higher risk.

The problem with government 'insurance' is that it really isn't really an insurance policy in so much as it is a transfer of wealth from those that live in less disaster prone areas to those who live in more disaster prone areas. The same can be said for government reconstruction dollars, Paul.

- MikeB

Well Wizbang, you really sh... (Below threshold)
Missouri Boy:

Well Wizbang, you really should understand were the dam is in Missouri is and you would know that the kids harmed were the children of park supertendant's and lived at the state park provided by the park and which was only one a a couple houses in the area!! The area it's self is very unpopulated and very rough hill area. it's not like there were dozens of houses swept away.

What should be mentioned that it's Union Elctric's fault, I visted the place in 1995 and was amazed by the amount of leaking water, the place gave me a complete uneasy feeling not to mention how could a utility company could buy one such a mountain and turn it into a private money making machine, it was the second highest mountain in Missouri and was ruined by a private company.

Really though the area is mostly unpopulated, while the news reports mad it sound like towns were threatened, none such happened. With some sort of credit given to the utility company that ran it, they knew it was some hazard with it and that's why it was in the middle of unpopulated area.


One can just be thankful that it happened in December when the park was not full of campers and vistors. The near by state park is Johnson Shut Ins and it's very popular during the summer by vistors.

Yes if you live 10 feet below sea level, you should expect flooding, in 1993 I helped sandbag in central missouri during the river flooding of the Missouri river and Mississippi; sure folks live near water and that's been an attraction since the dawn of ages but if you do, you better be willing to get wet sometimes!!!

Hey there are plenty of nic... (Below threshold)
seamus:

Hey there are plenty of nice places to live in Pennsyltucky. My guess is Tim occupies one of the many trailers scattered throughout the -Tucky half of the state, but that don't make it all bad.

If you are at all intereste... (Below threshold)
Brad:

If you are at all interested in seeing how the water flowed, do visit http://www.clarkmtnmusings.blogspot.com, there you will find all that you need to see in order to understand just how the water moved down Proffit Mountain.




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