Iowa Lake Disappears in Single Day

92-year-old dam fails, and Lake Delhi all but vanishes
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2010 7:14 AM CDT

(Newser) – A 9-mile-long Iowa lake essentially disappeared on Saturday after surging floodwaters caused its 92-year-old dam to fail. As water breached a 300-foot section of Lake Delhi's dam, the rapid change in water pressure caused windows to shatter and interior walls to collapse in nearby cabins. By yesterday afternoon, what remained was a steep cliff where the shore once was, the scent of rotting fish in the air, and lawns covered in water-logged furniture, carpet, and mattresses.

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The dam, owned by the local homeowners association, had been well-maintained, reports the Des Moines Register; a 2009 state inspection revealed no issues that could have been responsible for its failure, said a dam safety engineer. Astounding Friday night rains just created "more water than it was designed for." Gov. Chet Culver vowed yesterday to restore the popular summertime destination, as residents who once boasted lakefront status worry about crashing property values. "It just makes your jaw drop," said one condo owner. "The lake's gone." (Read more lake disappears stories.)

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