Monday, February 11, 2013

The Great Flood Of 1913

left quote  The flood was second only to Noah's  right quote
—Bishop Milton Wright, father of Orville and Wilbur and Dayton flood survivor

In late March of 1913 rain fell in such an excess over the Ohio Valley that no river in Ohio and most of Indiana remained in its banks. Bridges, roads, railways, dams, and property were washed away. In its wake, at least 600 lost their lives, a quarter million people were left homeless, and damages were estimated in the hundreds of millions, making it at that time one of the worst natural disasters the United States had witnessed.

This is a testament that flooding has always, and will always occur.  Over the decades, many strides have been made to minimize the impacts of severe flooding on lives and property.  To a significant degree, many of these measures have been a great success.  Despite that, flooding still remains the number one weather related fatality with on average 94 deaths per year. 

I've recently highlighted some of the factors that weigh heavily on a spring flood outlook.  They include, but are not limited to: winter snow cover, ice thickness on rivers, current river levels and the potential for heavy spring rains.  In 1913, it was a matter of a "Perfect Storm" for what still stands today as epic flooding through the month of March.  March of 1913 was the 9th snowiest month on record with 13.3" of snow and the wettest month on record with 7.99" of precipitation over the month!  

Here is an archived weather map of a one of many dynamic storms to bring a bout of heavy rain to the Ohio River Valley:
 
March 14th 1913

The result of this heavy snow, spring melt, ice jams and heavy rains sent rivers spilling and raging over their banks.  Here is the record flooding on several of the area rivers:

Maumee River @ Waterville
(1) 19.90 ft on 03/28/1913
(2) 16.17 ft on 02/12/1959
(3) 15.31 ft on 01/01/1991
(4) 15.21 ft on 02/26/1985
(5) 15.00 ft on 02/29/1936

Blanchard River @ Findlay
(1) 18.50 ft on 03/13/1913
(2) 18.46 ft on 08/22/2007
(3) 17.43 ft on 06/14/1981
(4) 16.76 ft on 02/11/1959
(5) 16.50 ft on 02/07/2008

Maumee River @ Defiance
(1) 26.00 ft on 03/26/1913
(2) 20.50 ft on 03/15/1982
(3) 18.50 ft on 02/25/1985
(4) 17.97 ft on 02/08/2008
(5) 17.65 ft on 03/12/2009

Notice the RECORD flooding that has stood now for nearly 100 years!?!  Extreme weather events have and always will occur.  For more information on this historic flooding a website with additional information can be found here: http://mrcc.isws.illinois.edu/1913Flood/