It is too soon, say officials, to determine which ones may have failed before the water spilled over the top and which ones breached due to weakening after the water had overflowed.
Each day brings news of more levees overtopped or breached. Some are smaller agricultural levees built to 30- or 40-year flood standards, while others are higher, designed to protect river towns.
And it's not just about Mother Nature...it's about construction standards.
To qualify for the National Flood Insurance Program, structures simply need to be behind a levee built to a so-called 100-year standard, meaning there is a 1 percent chance in any given year that a flood will rise above the levee. In the Netherlands, on the other hand, levees for ocean flooding are built to a 10,000-year standard, and inland levees are designed at least to a 250-year standard and usually in excess of 1,250 years.
"Around the world, the 100-year standard is a joke," says John Barry, author of "Rising Tide," his book about the Mississippi River flood of 1927, and a member of a flood control authority that oversees six levee districts in metropolitan New Orleans. "We invest on the cheap."
I've been a little surprised that no one has posted about this yet...maybe we don't have a lot of members who are either from the US Midwest or have lived there in the past.