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Floods and Flooding

Sound of dams bursting in Brazil sent residents running

The flood of mud came without a warning. The only hint the roughly 600 residents of Bento Rodrigues had that a sea of viscous, clay-red mud was about to flow into their village with the destructive power of lava was a deafening clap.

The sound of two dams bursting Thursday afternoon at the Samarco iron ore mine in Brazil's central Minas Gerais state sent residents running for the hills, and, miraculously, most appear to have survived.

Only two people were confirmed to have been killed in the accident, which sent some 62 million cubic meters of water and iron ore leftovers flooding into the village, which is located some 4 miles (7 kilometers) downhill from the mine,...