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Flood risk heightened for California dam

Posted at 8:05 PM, Nov 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-01 23:06:55-04

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities say a California dam could fail during an extreme storm and send water flooding into Mojave Desert communities that are home to about 300,000 people.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday that it's changed its risk characterization of the Mojave River Dam from low to high urgency of action.

The earthen dam was built in the 1970s near the San Bernardino Mountains.

It's never breached but an assessment last year found that during an extreme storm, water could flow over the top and erode the dam.

That could threaten Apple Valley, Hesperia, Victorville, Barstow and even the tiny town of Baker, more than 140 miles downstream.

Officials say the chances of such a storm are small — about 1-in-10,000 — but they're working with communities on emergency preparations anyway.