The worst flooding in 15 years has exposed some serious vulnerabilities in the Midwest's aging infrastructure, the Chicago Tribune reports. Levees, bridges, and dams, some a century old, are barely coping with severe storms—while some are collapsing completely. Dikes and levees broke in several states last week after torrential rains, destroying homes and flooding farmland.
Severe storms and flooding are now happening much more often than they did when much of the country's infrastructure was designed. There are fears that decades of underinvestment could soon mean catastrophe. "We as a nation have ignored our infrastructure for the past 50 years," a flood plain manager warned. "We haven't gone back to maintain the old roads and bridges. We just keep building new ones."