In autumn 2012, a heavy rainstorm caused the Amgu River in northern Primorye to burst its banks and wash out a small section of road leading into the village of Amgu. This settlement, barely offset from the Sea of Japan by a narrow, sandy beach, was poised to be cleaved in two by the massing waters. Luckily, the escalating pressure caused a second river mouth to burst through the beach and into the bay. The water levels receded and the village was saved.
The residents of Amgu, shaken by this near-catastrophe, raised a tall, earthen dyke between the river and the adjacent road in response. This would prevent such a disaster from threatening again, they reasoned.
Two years came and went. Water levels rose and receded. Villagers, lulled into a sense of safety behind this castle wall of mud and rock, remained unaware that the Amgu River was not yet done with them. In fact, like a dragon resting on the valley’s chain, the river was waiting patiently for the right moment to arch its back, spread its wings, and breathe some serious fire.
The floods returned in September 2014.