TEXAS: Hell & High Water

What About the Dam? As the ponderous curtains of rain swept on through the darkness, San Antonio waited nervously for something worse. Would the Olmos Dam hold? It had been built after the disastrous flash flood of 1921, had been a subject of controversy ever since. One group of engineers had predicted that it would break under severe pressure, send a wall of water roaring through the city. [Now, as a lake backed up behind the 1 ,900-ft. concrete barrier, an inevitable rumor spread: "The darn is going to break."

The rumor grew all the next day. The downpour stopped,...

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