The Kelly Barnes Dam on Toccoa Creek near Toccoa, Ga., failed at approximately 1:30 a.m., November 6, 1977, after a period of intensive rain. Thirty-nine people were killed and damages were estimated at $2.8 million by the Federal Disaster Assistance Administration and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (Roland Serabia and Carl Badger, oral commun., 1978).
Immediately after the flood, hydrologists of the U.S. Geological Survey obtained hydrologic information to document the disaster and to test the Survey's dam-break model procedures.
President Jimmy Carter, at the request of Governor George Busbee of Georgia, authorized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to make a technical assessment of the Kelly Barnes Dam failure with the assistance of other Federal agencies having appropriate expertise. The Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Geological Survey, the Soil Conservation Service, and the National Weather Service formed a technical Federal Investigative Board that conducted the technical assessment and published its evaluation as, Report of Failure of Kelly Barnes Dam, Toccoa, Georgia, in December 1977.