The Howard Hanson Dam, east of Seattle in Washington State is leaking and this has scientists and residents worried.
The dam, which is controlling the Green River, began to show signs of weakness in January 2009. Officials since then have been warning area residents to prepare for a flood, according to the Associated Press, by placing valuable items in “safe” locations of homes and businesses. They also advised the residents of the Green River Valley to purchase flood insurance and “be ready to flee”.
Temporary fixes are being constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers, but the scientists will not know how effective the $8.9 million short-term measures will be until more tests are done.
In addition to people worrying about their homes being destroyed, there is also much anxiety about the commercial tolls a flood would have. Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ main office is located in the area of concern along with shopping centers, factories, and other warehouses. Some areas of the valley could see up to 6 feet of flood water.
The cost to fix the dam could add up to $500 million and take up to three years.
The city of Auburn, WA has posted information on their website that lists information, meeting dates, and how one can receive emergency notifications about this situation.
Knowing about this danger has made it clear that residents have to be actively prepared for a disaster. Preparations should include not just putting valuable in a safe place and purchasing flood insurance, but also creating an emergency disaster plan for one’s family.
Businesses also need to be prepared and can save a lot of money in restoration costs by planning ahead.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/30539067@N04/ / CC BY 2.0