The Arizona Republic is reporting that the rubberized dam forming Tempe Lake has broken around 10pm on Tuesday night.
Tempe Town Lake dam bursts
Karina Bland – Jul. 20, 2010 10:47 PM
The Arizona Republic
A section of the inflatable dam containing Tempe Town Lake exploded about 10 p.m. Tuesday, sending a wall of water into the Salt River bed.
The river filled as far as the eye could see within seconds, witnesses reported.
Warning sirens started wailing within minutes, and officers rushed along the riverbed to try to warn anyone of the approaching flood.
There was no immediate word of any casualties or injuries.
Preston Swan, 24, of Tempe, witnessed the dam’s collapse.
“It sounded like a big explosion,” he said.
He and some friends were riding bikes in the area when section of the recreational lake’s western dam erupted. It collapsed immediately and water instantly surged into the riverbed.
The waves subsided somewhat as the lake continued draining.
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Maureen Howell, 24, of Tempe, said she called 911 and that police arrived almost immediately.
“We stuck around because we thought this was a once in a lifetime event,” she said.
Philip Kanemeyer, 23, of Tempe said the sound of the explosion was so loud that “I actually ducked because I saw pieces flying 10 feet into the air.”
“It just flooded over in seconds,” he said. “It was a high wall of water.”
Lukas Henderson, 13, of Tempe was biking on the north side of the lake with his sister and dad.
“All of a sudden, we heard this ka-boom and the ground started shaking,” he said.
Six to eight-foot waves poured out.
“It was like, whoosh, and the lake started emptying,” he said “It was amazing.”
Witnesses said small animals poured up the river’s banks to escape the floowaters.
Check back later on azcentral for updates.
Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/community/tempe/articles/2010/07/20/20100720tempelake0720-ON.html