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The World’s Most Catastrophic Floods, in Photos

The World’s Most Catastrophic Floods, in Photos



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Floods were considered a blessing by certain civilizations—the Egyptians relied on the Nile’s yearly overflow for fertile soil—but they also stand as some of history’s most devastating natural disasters. Whether due to heavy rains, storm surges or busted dams, deluges have often claimed thousands of lives and left whole cities in ruin. In some cases, they even permanently changed the planet’s geography.

1. The Johnstown Flood was so massive it equaled the flow of the Mississippi River.

The disaster began shortly after 3 p.m on May 31, 1889, when a dam on Pennsylvania’s Lake Conemaugh washed away following several days of drenching rain. The collapse unleashed some 16 million tons of water, which quickly turned into a 40-foot-high, half-mile-wide surge of mud and debris. An hour later, the wave struck Johnstown like a giant fist, crushing some 1,600 buildings and sweeping away everything in its path. When the waters finally receded, over 2,200 people were dead and many more were injured or homeless. The flood was later blamed on the poorly maintained dam, which was owned by a hunting and fishing club, but no one was ever held financially liable for the disaster.

2. The Central China Flood may have killed as many as 3.7 million people.

In the summer of 1931, heavy snowmelt, torrential rains and seven different cyclonic storms combined to produce the most devastating flood in Chinese history. In the month of July alone, central China was swamped by as much precipitation as it typically received in a year-and-a-half. By August, the Yangtze, Yellow and Huai Rivers had all burst through their badly managed dikes and flooded an area larger than the size of England. Thousands died from drowning during the initial phase of the flood, but even more followed due to widespread famine and outbreaks of diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever and dysentery.

3. One flood was known as the “Great Drowning of Men.”

The Grote Mandrenke was the result of a vicious North Sea tempest that swept across parts of Europe in January 1362. The effects of the storm were first felt in England, where one chronicler wrote that “a strong gale blew from the north so violently for a day and night that it flattened trees, mills, houses and a great many church towers.” The damage was even worse in the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark, which experienced a catastrophic storm surge that overran nearly every dike and levee in its path. Anywhere from 25,000 to 100,000 people drowned, and it was said that 60 different parishes in Denmark were “swallowed by the salt sea.” Elsewhere in the Low Countries, erosion from the flood permanently transformed the coastline and led to the disappearance of whole islands. Along with other storms during the Middle Ages, the Grote Mandrenke also played a role in forming a shallow North Sea bay in the Netherlands known as the Zuiderzee.

4. Few floods in recorded history compare to the one that rocked the Indus River Valley in 1841.

The trouble began in January of that year, when an earthquake triggered a massive landslide on the slopes Nanga Parbat, a Himalayan peak located in what is now Pakistan. So much bedrock tumbled off the mountain that it blocked the flow of the rushing Indus River and created a lake 500 feet deep and several dozen miles long. When the natural dam finally burst that June, the lake emptied at a rate of 540,000 cubic meters per second, unleashing a gargantuan flood wave almost 100 feet high. The casualties from the disaster were not recorded, but it was known to have wreaked havoc on several hundred miles of the Indus Valley. Whole villages were wiped off the map, and an entire 500-man Sikh army was reportedly consumed near the city of Attock.

5. The United States’ most iconic river was the source of its most destructive freshwater flood.

In the spring of 1927, following months of unrelenting rain, the lower Mississippi River swelled to its breaking point and overran its levee system. The resulting flood swamped some 16 million acres across seven states from Cairo, Illinois, to New Orleans. The damage was at its worst in Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana, where the river inundated so much land it temporarily created a shallow sea over 75 miles wide and forced thousands to be evacuated by boat. By the time the waters finally receded later that summer, at least 250 people were dead and another 1 million had been driven from their homes—roughly one percent of the entire American population at the time.

6. This 1966 flood struck a devastating blow to Italy’s cultural treasures.

The deluge began on November 4, when a period of steady rain caused the Arno River to overflow, sending 18 billion gallons of mud and sludge pouring through the streets of Florence. Thousands of homes and businesses were destroyed, but the water also reached several art galleries and libraries containing priceless Renaissance-era relics. Some 1.5 million books were left submerged in the Biblioteca Nazionale. Elsewhere in the city, the torrent destroyed or damaged 1,500 frescoes, sculptures and paintings. In the wake of the disaster, a band of international volunteers known as the “Mud Angels” descended on Florence to pick through the debris and salvage waterlogged canvases and manuscripts. The teams rescued countless artworks, but in many cases, the restoration process has taken decades. Work on one famous painting, Giorgio Vasari’s 1546 “Last Supper,” was only completed in 2016.

7. Not all of history’s great floods can be blamed on Mother Nature.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War in June 1938, Chinese Nationalist troops intentionally destroyed several dikes on the Yellow River in an attempt to thwart invading Japanese forces. The Chinese hoped the scorched earth tactic would block Japanese access to a railway and slow their westward progress. What happened instead was an environmental disaster. Once the muddy river was set loose, it tumbled off course and flooded a 21,000-square-mile swath of Henan, Anhui and Jiangsu provinces in the center of the country. An estimated 4 million people were displaced from their homes, and 800,000 died from drowning, disease and famine after the deluge continued unchecked. “Residents who have not died in the floods perish from hardship,” read a 1940 Chinese government report. “Those who have fortunately stayed alive are already urgently gasping for breath and groaning in agony.” The disaster dragged on for the rest of the war—the Chinese government initially tried to blame the busted dikes on a Japanese bombing—and it wasn’t until 1947 that engineers and laborers succeeded in returning the Yellow River to its original course.

8. Historians are still not entirely sure what caused one of Britain’s worst natural disasters.

The deluge began on the morning of January 30, 1607, when a great surge of seawater overran some 200 square miles of southwest England and Wales, completely drowning at least 20 villages. One witness wrote of seeing “huge and mighty hills of water, tumbling one over another” and advancing with “great swiftness” over the landscape. Such descriptions have led some researchers to theorize that the floods were the result of a massive tsunami brought on by an earthquake, but others maintain that a squall-induced storm surge and spring tide are the more likely culprits. Whatever its cause, the flooding proved devastating for the low-lying regions surrounding the Bristol Channel, where some 2,000 people were killed. In Somerset, the floodwaters surged 15 miles inland and briefly turned the famed hill at Glastonbury Tor into an island.


10 Most Catastrophic Natural Disasters In History

It is seen that over the years there have been a lot of natural disasters occurring in the world that has stolen many lives and has lead destructions and upheaval for the people.

There are many criteria which prove that the natural disasters have a horrifying sight and has increased death toll rates as well as resulted in millions of destruction of both life and property on the Earth. These devastating panic-stricken natural disasters are recorded in the history of the world.

Some of these natural disasters include volcanic eruptions, floods, earthquakes, Heat waves, drought, cyclone, tsunami, typhoon and many others. The impact of these disaster’s impacts depends on the size and the location where it occurred. If the prone area has a large amount of population than the destruction to the life and property increases.

There have been several such kinds of disasters which proved to be devastating for the country and has done a lot of damage to the economic conditions of the country. Technology has been upgraded to predict the occurrences of these events beforehand. With the help of which people can be evacuated from the region and we can minimize the damage it can create in the area and the surroundings.

Let’s take a look at the most panic-stricken disasters occurred in the history:

1) China Floods

The China flood also is known as the yellow river flood occurred in the year 1931. This flood is considered to be one of the worst disasters in the world. The flood is considered among the first among the deadliest disasters.

Approximately the death toll rate of the Republic China. Estimates of China stated that it near about 1,4,500 thousands of people were killed and about damaged about 28.5 million worth of money.

The Yangtze and Huai river floods reached the capital of China. The city located on the island suffered a huge catastrophic damage. Millions of people died because of drowning in the flow whereas some died of the starvation and water-borne diseases.

2) Earthquake And Tsunami In Indian Ocean

The Tsunami had hit several countries of South and South Asia in 2004. The Tsunami and its after effects were responsible for the destruction and loss on the Indian Ocean. This disaster occurred due to the disturbance in the tectonic plates which resulted in the Earthquake in the Indian Ocean due to which large waves swept away the southern states of India.

It was the third largest Earthquake recorded in the history on 26th November 2004 with a magnitude of 9.1 on the Richter Scale and struck the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It killed 2,20000 people of the various countries which include Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Maldives. Thus the resulted tsunami is known as Indonesian Tsunami, Indian Ocean tsunami and much more.

3) Bhola Cyclone

It was one of the most devastating tropical cyclones in the world that struck East Pakistan and the India’s West Bengal. About 5,00,000 people lost their home in the storm. Statistics show that it was the sixth largest storm recorded in the Ocean and was the strongest amongst them. Thus it is considered under the deadliest cyclone disaster. The cyclone was originated in the Bay of Bengal and it moved forward with intense speed towards the North.

It killed around 3,00,000 people in the East Pakistan known as Bangladesh. It devastated offshore islands, destroyed crops wiped out villages in the most throughout the region. The most adverse effect was seen in the Upazila and Tazumuddin in which about 45% of the population were killed.

4) East Africa Drought

The drought-affected the East Africa in between 2011 and mid of 2012. According to the experts, it was one of the most destructive in the past 60 years. The drought threatened the life of 9.5 million people of Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti threatening the people of Africa. This drought-affected the children making them malnutrition which led the life of the people. The food crises in the Somalia affected the farmers.

This drought resulted in the death of people as well as it also created the deadly famine in the country. This natural disaster is one of the catastrophic in the history.

5) Typhoon Tip

Typhoon Tip also knew as Typhoon Warling was one of the greatest and was one of the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the history. Pacific cyclones are the most powerful one in comparison with the Atlantic hurricane in terms of the strength. The tip was developed as a result of the disturbance in the monsoon.

It was recorded on the 12th October 1979 in the history when the tip was originated in the ocean with lowest air pressure. It killed around 99 people which are a less amount than some of the disasters we have included in the list but denying the fact that this must be taken as the warning that more intensified Typhoon can strike.

6) Haiyuan Earthquake

This disaster occurred on the 16th December 1920 in Ningxia in the Republic of the China. It was reported to have 7.7 magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale. Over around 73,000 people were killed in the Haiyuan County. According to the United State Geological Survey, this disaster took away the life of about 2,00,000 casualties in Haiyuan.

Destruction was stretched to the seven provinces of the china which includes Taiyuan, Xiang, Xining, and Yinchuan. Nearly all the houses were found collapsed in the two cities of Longde and hunting and more than 30,000 people were will be killed in Guazan county.

7) Nevado del Ruiz Volcano Eruption

This disaster is also known as the La Mesa de Herveo, it is a volcano which is present at the Caldas and Tolima in Columbia. This stratovolcano is responsible for creating the world’s second largest volcano.

This volcano erupts Plinian soft currents of gases and the molten lava which is known as Pyroclastic flows. Buried and destroyed the whole town of Tolima on 13th November 1985. It killed around 25,000 people in the disaster which are popularly known as Armero Tragedy.

8) Chile Earthquake

It is the greatest Chilean Earthquake in the history. It was recorded that the earthquake was intense and it had a magnitude of 9.2 to 9.4 on the Richter scale and is thus one of the worst disasters in the history of Chile and in the world.

It occurred in the afternoon and lasted for approximately 10 minutes. The tsunami caused due to this earthquake affected Philippians, new Zealand, Japan, Hawaii, and Australia. To tell about the number of deaths and the monetary loss is not possible as it was uncertain. According to some publishers, 1,000 to 6,000 people were killed but the exact death rate is not mentioned anywhere.

9) Yangtze river flood

When torrential rains hit southern China in 1931.This caused the river to flood. As a result of this is 3.7 million people dead. It is thus considered to be one of the worst disasters of the 20th century.

Yangtze river is one of the largest river of Asia and thus any disturbances in the river can affect a large group of the people.The consequences of the river were terrible due to heavy rains and this resulted in the death of a lot of people of China.

10) European heat wave

Europe has never seen scorching hot summers. In spite, it is a place which remains cold throughout the year. But in 2003 they were hit by the heat waves which made the United States and Australia sit back it resulted in the health crises in the several countries. The effect of the disaster was severe in the Ukraine, as it suffered from the crop loss about 75% field was affected.

The extreme temperature caused the whole country to be dried up most of the Europe. This caused the forest fires and even flooding. There were 14,802 people were killed in France


Death toll Event Location Year
500,000–4,000,001 1931 China floods China 1931
900,000–2,000,000 1887 Yellow River flood China 1887
500,000–800,000 1938 Yellow River flood China 1939
229,000 Typhoon Nina China 1975
145,000 1935 Yangtze flood China 1935
100,000+ St. Felix's Flood, storm surge Netherlands 1530
(up to) 100,000 [1] [2] [3] The flood of 1099 Netherlands & England 1099
up to 100,000 [4] 1911 Yangtze river flood China 1919
50,000–80,000 [2] St. Lucia's flood, storm surge Holy Roman Empire 1287
60,000 North Sea flood, storm surge Holy Roman Empire 1212
40,000 [5] 1949 Eastern Guatemalan Floods Guatemala 1949
36,000 St. Marcellus flood, storm surge Holy Roman Empire 1219
30,000 1954 Yangtze River floods China 1954
28,700 1974 Bangladesh flood due to monsoon rain Bangladesh 1974
25,000–40,000 St. Marcellus flood / Grote Mandrenke, storm tide Holy Roman Empire, Denmark 1362
20,000 1999 Vargas mudslide Venezuela 1999
20,000 All Saints' Flood, storm surge Holy Roman Empire 1570
20,000 1939 Tianjin flood China 1939
15,000 [6] 1705 Po valley flood Italy 1705
14,000 Christmas flood, storm surge Netherlands, Germany, Denmark 1717
10,000–100,000 [1] [2] [3] St. Elizabeth's flood, storm surge Holy Roman Empire 1421
8,000–15,000 Burchardi flood Germany, Denmark 1634
10,000 Great Iran Flood Iran 1954
10,000 1824 St. Petersburg flood Russia 1824
several thousands North Sea flood, storm surge Holy Roman Empire 1014
several thousands St. Juliana flood, storm surge Holy Roman Empire 1164
several thousands St. Agatha flood, storm surge Holy Roman Empire 1288
several thousands St. Clemens flood, storm surge Holy Roman Empire 1334
several thousands St. Mary Magdalene's flood Central Europe 1342
several thousands All Saints flood, storm surge Holy Roman Empire 1532
several thousands North Sea flood, storm surge Netherlands 1703
7,000 [6] 1557 Palermo flood Sicily 1557
6,200 Sichuan, Hubei, Anhui flood China 1980
5,748. [7] 2013 North India floods India 2013
5,000–10,000 Rajputana flood India 1943
5,000 Lake Palcacocha in the Cojup valley, Cordillera Blanca mountain range, landslide by massive avalanche Peru 1941
4,892 [5] 1968 Rajasthan, Gujarat monsoon rain India 1968
4,800 1951 Manchuria flood China 1951
4,000 [6] 1610 Tanaro River flood Italy 1610
3,838 1998 Eastern India, Bangladesh monsoon rain India, Bangladesh 1998
3,814 1989 Sichuan flood China 1989
3,800 1978 Northern India monsoon rain India 1978
3,656 1998 Yangtze river flood China 1998
3,500 1948 Fuzhou flood China 1948
3,189+ 2010 China floods, landslides China, North Korea 2010
3,084 1993 South Asian monsoon rain Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan 1993
3,076 2004 Eastern India, Bangladesh monsoon rain India, Bangladesh 2004
3,000 [6] 1530 Tiber River flood Italy 1530
3,000 [6] 1598 Tiber River flood Italy 1598
3,000 1992 Afghanistan flood, mainly, Gulbahar, Kalotak, Shutul, Parwan, flash flood, mudslide Afghanistan 1992
2,910 1950 Pakistan flood Pakistan 1950
2,828 2011 Southeast Asian floods Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia 2011
2,775 1996 China flood, torrential floods, mud-rock flows China 1996
2,566 1953 Japan flood, mainly Kitakyushu, Kumamoto, Wakayama, Kizugawa, massive rain, flood, mudslide Japan 1953
2,400 North Sea flood, storm surge Netherlands 838
1,000-8,000 2016 Indian floods by monsoon rain India 2016
2,379 1988 Bangladesh monsoon rain Bangladesh 1988
2,209 Johnstown Flood United States (Pennsylvania) 1889
2,142 North Sea flood of 1953 storm surge Netherlands, United Kingdom, Belgium 1953
2,075 1981 Sichuan, Shanxi flood China 1981
2,055 1987 Bangladesh monsoon rain Bangladesh 1987
2,000–5,000 1 Morvi dam burst India (Morvi, Gujarat) 1979
2,000–3,000 Mostaganem and Oran flood Algeria 1927
2,000+ Bristol Channel floods, 1607 England and Wales possible tsunami 1607
1,921 [5] [6] Vajont Dam landslide and flood Italy 1963
1,834 1992 Pakistan, Northern India monsoon rain Pakistan, India 1992
1,723 1991 China flood, mainly, Sichuan, Guizhou, Hubei, torrential floods, mud-rock flows China 1991
1,700 1955 Northern India flood India 1955
1,624 Fujian, Anhui, Zhejiang flood China 2005
1,605–3,363 spring flooding Haiti, Dominican Republic 2004
1600–2,000 Pakistan floods, monsoon flooding [8] [9] [10] [11] Pakistan 2010
1,558 St. Martin flood, storm surge Netherlands 1686
1,532 2002 China flood, torrential floods, mud-rock flows China 2002
1,503 Mumbai and the surrounding state Maharashtra, Karnataka, monsoon rain India 2005
1,437 1995 China flood, mainly, Hunan, Jiangxi, Liaoning, Sichuan, Fujian, torrential rain, devastating floods, mud-rock flows China 1995
1,348 2007 China flood, mountain torrents, mud-rock flows China 2007
1,268 Floods were caused by Tropical Storm Washi [12] Philippines 2011
1,029 2004 China flood, mountain torrents, mud-rock flows, landslide China 2004
1,000 1961 Bihar flood India 1961
992 Isahaya, massive rain and mudslide Japan 1957
941 Inuyama Iruka pond dam failure Japan 1868
933 1938 Massive rain of Japan, mainly Tokyo, Kobe, massive rain and landslide Japan 1938
915 Barcelona, flash flood Spain 1962
903 January 2011 Rio de Janeiro floods and mudslides Brazil 2011
848 1977 Karachi flood Pakistan 1977
844 2006 North Korean floods North Korea 2006
827 Algiers, Bab El Oued, devastating flood, mudslide Algeria 2001
800 North Sea flood, storm surge Netherlands 1825
800 2000 Mozambique flood Mozambique 2000
705 2006 Ethiopia flood, mainly Omo River Delta, Dire Dawa, Tena, Gode, flash flood, heavyrain Ethiopia 2006
677 2009 August 8 flood, due to Typhoon Morakot, An entire village of Shiaolin was buried at the southern county of Kaohsiung Taiwan 2009
672 1972 Seoul flood South Korea 1972
653 1972 Luzon flood Philippines 1972
640 1987 Villatina landslide disaster Colombia 1987
610 2007 North Korean floods North Korea 2007
595 1999 Vietnamese floods Vietnam 1999
594 Hanoi and Red River Delta flood North Vietnam 1971
540 1969 Tunisia flooding Tunisia 1969
532 Cuzco, Huallaga, torrential rain, flooding, landslide Peru 1982
517 1967 Massive rain of Japan, mainly, Kobe, Kure, Agano River, massive rain and landslide Japan 1967
506 KwaZulu-Natal South Africa 1987
500 Malawi, flash flood and landslide Malawi 1991
500 Gauldal, landslide Norway 1345
500 [13] 2018 East Africa floods Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, and Somalia 2018
483 2018 Kerala floods India 2018
464 Lisbon flash flood Portugal 1967
449+ 2016 China floods China 2016
445 Western Japan, massive rains and landslides Japan 1972
437 1967 Brazil flood, mainly Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, flood and landslide Brazil 1967
431 St. Francis Dam failure United States (California) 1928
431 2015 Tamil Nadu floods Chennai, Cuddalore and Andhra Pradesh named 2015 South Indian floods India 2015
429 2002 Nepal flood, mainly occurred at Makwanpur, monssnal rain, flood, landslide Nepal 2002
425 October 1999 Mexico floods, mainly occurred at Tabasco, Puebla, Chiapas, flood and mudslide as a result from Tropical Depression Eleven Mexico 1999
421 Malpasset Dam failure France 1959
420 St. Aarons Flood Amsterdam 1420
408 1969 South Korea flood, mainly, Gyeongsangbuk-do, Gyeongsangnam-do, Gangwon-do, torrential rain, landslide South Korea 1969
407 1993 Iran flood, mainly occurred at Isfahan, Bandar Abass, flash flood and landslide Iran 1993
405 1998 South Korea flood, heavy massive rain, landslide South Korea 1998
400 1955 Lebanon Tripoli flood Lebanon 1955
386 Thailand, Malaysia, mainly, Nakhon, Songkhla, Kelantan, torrential rain Thailand, Malaysia, 1988
385 Ohio River flood of 1937 United States (Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois) 1937
373 1966 Rio de Janeiro flood, flood and landslide Brazil 1966
364 Piura, Tumbes, torrential rain, flooding, landslide Peru 1983
360+ Great Dayton Flood United States 1913
360 1958 Buenos Aires flood Argentina 1958
356+ [6] [14] 1923 Gleno Dam failure Italy 1923
353 2007 African Nations flood mainly Sudan, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, and many African country 2007
347 1996 Yemen flood Yemen 1996
345 1987 South Korea flood, mainly, Chungchongnam-do, Jeollanam-do, Kangwon, torrential rain, landslide South Korea 1987
342 2006 East African Flood Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia 2006
315 North Sea flood of 1962 storm tide Germany 1962
313 2003 Sumatra flood, mainly Jambi, Batanghari, Tondano, torrential rain, flash flood, landslide Indonesia 2003
300 [6] 1584 Tanaro River flood Italy 1584
300 Flood in Miskolc, 1878 Miskolc, Hungary 1878
300 Pampayacta avalanche Peru 1963
300 Quebrada Blanca canyon, landslide Colombia 1974
299 Nagasaki, massive rain and landslide Japan 1982
290 Rio de Janeiro and Fluminense flood Brazil 1988
272 1973 Granada, Almeria, Murcia flood Spain 1973
270 Great Sheffield flood dam disaster United Kingdom 1864
268 Val di Stava dam disaster Italy 1985
259 1966 Maian flood Jordan 1966
255 1998 Tajikistan flood Tajikistan 1998
250 La Josefina landslide dam failure Ecuador 1993
246+ April 2010 Rio de Janeiro floods and mudslides Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2010
246 Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 United States (Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas) 1927
240 2017 Gujarat flood Gujarat and Rajasthan, India 2017
238 Black Hills flood United States 1972
235–244 2009 Philippine Floods [15] Philippines 2009
233 2020 Central Vietnam floods Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos 2020
230 Marrakesh flash flood Morocco 1995
228 2007 Balochistan flood by Cyclone Yemyin Pakistan 2007
223 2012 North Korean floods North Korea 2012
225 2018 Japan floods Japan 2018
203+ 2017 China floods China 2017
200–600 Chungar landslide, flood, avalanche Peru 1971
200+ 2008 South China floods South China 2008
200 Pamir Mountain area, mud and rock slides, torrential rain Tajikistan 1992
199 Santa Catarina, Tubarão, torrential heavy rain Brazil 1974
199 2009 El Salvador floods and mudslides El Salvador 2009
190 Huigra, landslide Ecuador 1931
172 2012 Russian floods Krymsk 2012
165 2004 Brazil flood, mainly São Paulo, Pemambuco, torrential rain, mudslide Brazil 2004
159 Sarno flood and landslide Italy 1998
154 KwaZulu-Natal South Africa 1995
141+ 2010–2011 Southern Africa floods Africa 2011
140+ 2019 Pakistan floods and storms Pakistan 2019
138 2010 Colombia floods Colombia 2010
135 Ozengeli, avalanche Turkey 1993
128 Izumo, massive rain and mudslide Japan 1964
125+ 2010 Leh floods Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan/India 2010
123 2009 Jeddah Torrential rain, floods Saudi Arabia 2009
121 1986 Northern Vietnam floods Vietnam 1986
120 1991 Antofagasta Flood, mud swept Chile 1991
119 2007 Central and East Java torrential monsoon rain, landslide, flood Indonesia 2007
117 Masuda, massive rain and landslide Japan 1983
115 Los Angeles flood of 1938 United States 1938
114 1990 South Korea flood, Seoul, Inchon, heavy rain South Korea 1990
113 2019 Jayapura flood and landslide Indonesia 2019
110 Southern Federal District, heavy rain, landslide [16] Russia 2002
104 1981 Laingsburg flood South Africa 1981
101 2016 Sri Lankan floods Sri Lanka 2016
100 2008 Vietnam floods Vietnam, China 2008
98 1997 Central European flood Poland, Czech Republic 1997
94 The Mameyes disaster Puerto Rico (Ponce) 1985
90+ Columbus, Ohio flood on March 25, 1913 United States 1913
86 "Las Nieves" camping river flood, in Biescas. Spain 1996
85+ January 2010 Rio de Janeiro floods and mudslides Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2010
81+ Valencia flood Valencia, Spain 1957
81 Holmfirth floods—Bilberry Reservoir dam failure United Kingdom 1852
80–100 [17] 1852 Gundagai flood Australia 1852
80+ 2014 Southeast Europe floods Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia 2014
80 [18] 1988 Sudan floods Sudan 1988
80 Failure of Laurel Run Dam and flash flooding, Johnstown, Pennsylvania United States 1977
78 Austin Dam failure United States 1911
77+ 2019 Iran floods Iran 2019
75+ 2013 Argentina floods Greater La Plata, Argentina 2013
73 1993 Kagoshima Heavy Rain, mudslide and debris flow Japan 1993
72+ Nigeria floods Nigeria 2012
72 Gudbrandsdalen flood and landslides Norway 1789
69 2005 levee failures in Greater New Orleans United States 2005
68 2019 South Sulawesi floods Indonesia 2019
66 2020 Jakarta floods Indonesia 2020
61 [19] Clermont and Peak Downs flood Australia 1916

Only floods having caused 10 fatalities or more in 21st-century are listed.


Impact of Floods

Natural hazards are all capable of causing severely negative consequences. Of all such occurrences, however, floods happen to be the ones that lead to the greatest number of deaths. According to a World Disasters Report, 44 percent of the deaths caused by natural hazards in 2013 could be attributed to floods. The financial cost of these natural disasters isn’t to be scoffed at either. Third world countries and developing economies happen to be more vulnerable to begin with, since a bigger number of buildings is concentrated in vulnerable regions. Sadly, many of the most damaging flooding events have taken place in such places. Climate change is also having an impact on the statistics and, unfortunately, experts predict that the flooding situation is going to become worse in years to come unless countermeasures are introduced to turn back the tide on climatic changes resulting from human activities.


Banqiao Dam Burst (1975)

The construction of Banqiao dam started in the year 1951, to meet the growing demands of electricity and also to check downstream flooding during peak seasons.

The design of the dam was regarded as not standard since the Chinese authorities were short of concrete hydrology data and the dam was opened in the year 1952.

An unexpected natural disaster in the form of Typhoon Nina struck Zhumadian region in the year 1975 (August), causing an enormous amount of rainfall in excess of 1000 mm per day.

Subsequently, Banqiao dam burst open and the Chinese authorities had put the estimated figures of lost lives to around 0.2 m.

Even today, people in China squarely blame the government for its failure to handle the situation in an effective manner.


Historical Flooding

The USGS provides practical, unbiased information about the Nation's rivers and streams that is crucial in mitigating hazards associated with floods. This site provides information about the USGS activities, data, and services provided during regional high-flow events, such as hurricanes or multi-state flooding events. The USGS response to these events is typically managed by the National Flood Hazard Coordinator.

Click on an event name to access news, data, and resources for regional flood events that involved a national coordinated USGS response.

Hurricane Dorian - Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 hurricane, took nearly two weeks (August 24 - Sept 7, 2019) to pass from the Caribbean to Canada.

Hurricane Michael - Hurricane Michael made landfall near Panama City, Florida, on October 10, 2018, as a Category 5. It caused catastrophic flooding and wind damage across Central America and the Southeastern U.S., particularly the Florida panhandle.

Hurricane Florence - Hurricane Florence's rains caused severe freshwater flooding as it stalled over North and South Carolina in September 2018.

Hurricane Nate - Capping off an intense 2017 hurricane season, Nate made landfall on the Louisiana and Mississippi coasts on October 7.

Hurricane Maria - Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a strong category 4 hurricane, with winds of 155 mph that knocked out power for the entire island.

Hurricane Jose - Even though Hurricane Jose never made a direct impact on the United States in September 2017, it generated large waves along its entire path and coastal effects have been felt from Florida to New England.

Hurricane Irma - Hurricane Irma was the first major hurricane to hit Florida since Hurricane Wilma struck in 2005.

Hurricane Harvey - On August 25, 2017 Category 4 storm Hurricane Harvey struck Texas, causing an estimated $125 billion in damage.

Pacific Winter Floods - The 2017 flood season began with atmospheric rivers pouring rain over large areas of California, Nevada, and Oregon.

Midwest Spring Floods - Large portions of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Arkansas experienced widespread springtime flooding.

2015/2016 Winter Floods - Widespread flooding from severe December 2015 rainfall affected large sections of the central and southern United States. Stress on the Nation's major rivers continued into 2016, as portions of the Ohio River, Missouri River, and Mississippi River threatened to match or exceed 2011 levels.

January Noreaster - A strong winter storm brings record-setting storm surge to the mid-Atlantic.

Southern Spring Floods - Spring rains cause flooding across areas of Texas, Louisiana Arkansas, and Mississippi.

August Louisiana Floods - Rainfall across Louisiana including amounts above 30 inches in some locations resulted in record-setting flooding.

September Northern Plains Floods - More than 12 inches of rain fell in northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota, and southwest Wisconsin during a 24-hour period on September 22 and 23, 2016. Wisconsin streamgages saw floods in the 10- to 100-year range.

Hurricane Matthew - A severe hurricane crossed Cuba and the Bahamas on its way toward the Florida coast.

Summer Central Floods - Repeated high-intensity storms wiped out drought conditions across much of Texas while Oklahoma experienced the single largest month of rainfall ever recorded. Soon after, farm-belt States and the Ohio River valley endured an unusually wet summer.

Autumn Appalachian Floods and Hurricane Joaquin - While Hurricane Joaquin threatened from the South Atlantic Ocean, weeks of persistent and sometimes heavy rain soaked the Appalachian States. USGS crews prepared for the double-threat of inland flooding and potential coastal flooding and damage from the Hurricane. Joaquin eventually passed by with moderate effects on the coast while USGS crews remained occupied with the inland floods.

2015/2016 Winter Floods - Widespread flooding from severe December 2015 rainfall affected large sections of the central and southern United States. Stress on the Nation's major rivers continued into 2016, as portions of the Ohio River, Missouri River, and Mississippi River threatened to match or exceed 2011 levels.

April floods in Alabama and Florida - Heavy rains over Southern Alabama and the Florida panhandle brought peak-of-record flooding on Bayou Marcus Creek and over $21 million in damage to Escambia County infrastructure.

June floods in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa - Peak-of-record flows in northern Minnesota's Rainy River Basin kept USGS crews busy while record floods further south in the Big Sioux River Basin left their mark in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.

August-September Southwest flood events - Heavy August rains followed by remnants of Hurricane Odile in September brought major flooding to parts of Arizona.

December Pacific Coast flood events - Regional flooding, including flash floods, heavy snows in the mountains, high winds, and mudslides visited Oregon, Washington, and California. Although widespread rain provided much-needed water, it did not alleviate the long-term drought in California.

September Southwest Floods - Heavy mid-September rains brought major flooding to parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.

May-June Midwest Floods - Late May and early June brought additional flooding to Iowa, Missouri Illinois, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

April-May Midwest Floods - Heavy rainfall (locally as much at 8 inches in some locations) fell across parts of Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Indiana in mid-April, resulting in major flooding on several rivers. Late snow-melt in the northern midwest added to the flooding in late April and early May.

Hurricane Isaac - USGS scientists, engineers, and technicians worked along the Gulf coast in response to Hurricane Isaac, deploying and maintaining 188 storm tide sensors and real-time streamgages in anticipation of Isaac's arrival. The USGS, in concert with our partners, is providing scientific assessments of the challenges wrought by Isaac.

Hurricane Sandy - Following on the heels of Hurricane Isaac, Hurricane Sandy gave USGS scientists, engineers, and technicians another opportunity to deploy storm tide sensors and real-time streamgages, this time, in over 224 locations.

April 2011 Arkansas Flood - The summer of 2011 brought historic flooding to Arkansas. In addition to the massive floodwaters that coursed down the Mississippi River, unusually heavy rainfall caused backwater flooding and levee failure along the Black and White Rivers as well.

April 2011 North Dakota Flood - On April 6, 2011, warmer-than-expected temperatures, combined with some light rain, initiated the melt process. Soon, record-breaking floodwaters came coursing down the Missouri, Red, and Souris Rivers, leading to massive flooding and even forcing some North Dakotans to flee their homes.

May 2011 New Madrid Floodway - In response to dangerous flood levels near the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) activated the Birds Point-New Madrid floodway (New Madrid Floodway in USGS literature) at 10:03 pm on May 2, 2011 by detonating explosives along a stretch of the Mississippi River levee just downstream of Cairo, Illinois.

May 2011 Louisiana flood - USGS crews from the Louisiana Water Science Center deployed stage sensors and rapid deployment real-time streamgages in the Morganza floodway in anticipation of the operation of the floodway, which was opened May 14, 2011 at 3:00pm. The USGS also made streamflow, water quality, and sediment concentration measurements in association with the Bonnet Carre' spillway upstream of New Orleans.

May 2011 Memphis, Tennessee flood - The USGS Tennessee Water-Science Center worked in cooperation with FEMA, USACE, National Weather Service, and local agencies to provide emergency real-time surface-water stage gages at critical locations in Shelby County.

Summer Missouri River Basin flood - USGS crews from Montana to Missouri watched closely as a higher-than-average snowmelt runoff combined with heavy spring rains advanced down the Missouri River system. Large reservoirs managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) are carefully managed with the help of data from the USGS streamgaging network to control flood levels.

Hurricane Irene - The USGS deployed stage sensors and rapid deployment real-time streamgages along the East Coast in anticipation of Hurricane Irene. USGS measurements and geospatial products are valuable tools for providing scientific assessments to decision makers both during the event and for future planning after the event.

Tropical Storm Lee - USGS personnel respond to the second major storm in 2 months as Tropical Storm Lee adds 20 inches of rain to an already wet season.

Documentation for events prior to 2011

The USGS National Flood Hazard Coordinator began documenting large-scale flood events in 2011. For events prior to 2011, a curated list of flood-related reports can be found in the Results tab on this page above. The curated list includes reports about many events, large and small, from the early 20th century through the present day. Users may also wish to consult the USGS Publications Warehouse for an exhaustive search of particular events.


Pictures Reveal Hurricane Harvey's Catastrophic Destruction

Rainfall from the storm is causing life-threatening floods.

Hurricane Harvey roared to shore on August 25 as a Category 4 storm, with 130-mph winds by the time it hit Rockport, Texas. Heavy rainfall has caused catastrophic flooding in Houston and along the Texas Gulf Coast, displacing thousands and causing dozens of deaths.

The gallery above features photography of the ongoing disaster and will be updated as the situation develops.

More than 2.3 million people live in rain-soaked Houston, and hundreds of thousands have been without power. (Learn the science behind what makes Harvey so deadly.)

Harvey is the strongest storm to hit a U.S. coast since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, and it has destroyed many buildings along the coast. Harvey was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane by early Saturday morning before being designated a tropical storm, but the most catastrophic effects of the storm are unfolding over several days. Flooding is among the worst in U.S. history.

As much as two feet of water has fallen in some neighborhoods, and dams have spilled over their capacity, adding to the floods. A disaster declaration requested by Texas Govenor Greg Abbott was granted by President Trump, who visited the region. The proclamation allows federal funds to be used for local disaster relief.

Houston was once largely a swamp and relies on a decades-old system of canals to drain flooded streets. Those by creeks and bayous have faced high flash flood risks. An investigation last year by the Houston Chronicle found that many of these waterways were built before the city's population exploded and when rainfall estimates were lower. The estimated $26 billion it would take to update these channels doesn't seem likely to happen soon.

How the storm will affect the region's major oil and gas hub remains to be seen, although refineries have already been closed. Gas prices have already surged, but of particular concern are potential long-term impacts to the refineries that flank the Houston Shipping Channel, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

Following Hurricane Ike in 2008, ProPublica and the Texas Tribune investigated how a major hurricane could affect this portion of the city, finding serious potential for environmental damage from oil and chemical leaks and major economic implications to disruptions to the industries.

Houston's Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzales is continuing to field requests for help on Twitter, and officials are reportedly urging Houston residents trapped by floods not to take shelter in their attics, but to move to their roofs to make them easier to spot and rescue. Tornado warnings were issued for some surrounding counties, thanks to the disturbance in the atmosphere.

To support victims of Harvey, consider giving to United Way of Greater Houston.


A look back at catastrophic floods that swamped Texas

1 of 84 Texas has been hit with dozens of major floods throughout the years, which have caused hundreds of deaths and billions of dollars in damage. Keep clicking to see the most catastrophic floods in Texas' history, since 1913. File Show More Show Less

2 of 84 During a classic El Nino year in 1913, heavy rains drenched Texas. In this photo, taken during the December 1913 floods, kids wade in feet-high water on St. Mary's Street at Houston Streets. The last tens days in November 1913 saw heavy rains that laid the foundation for flooding during the first five days of December. Rainfall totals measured 20 to 25 inches, causing 180 drownings.
Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

4 of 84 The Thrall Flood in 1921 drenched San Antonio due to a tropical storm that formed in the Bay of Campeche. In this photo from Sept. 21, 1921, soldiers float in a boat down St. Mary's Street. During 36 hours, the amount of rainfall stood at 39.7 inches, which drowned 51 people. Courtesy photo / Arcadia Publishing Show More Show Less

5 of 84 As a result of the Sept. 9-10, 1921 flood, the city decided to build the Olmos Dam to deter flash flooding. This photo shows one of the 13 bridges that were destroyed due to the flood. Ernst Wilhelm Raba/Courtesy Photo Show More Show Less

7 of 84 In 1935, exceptional floods occurred in May on Seco Creek, in June on the Colorado and Nueces Rivers and their tributaries, and in December on Buffalo Bayou. This photo shows a washed out downtown Houston after Buffalo Bayou flooding in December 1935.
Houston Press Show More Show Less

8 of 84 A flood in May 1949 marked the worst flood in Fort Worth's history, due to the Clear Fork of the Trinity River breaking its levees and spilling into the city. This photo shows an overview of a soaked Fort Worth on May 17, 1949. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

10 of 84 An estimated 11 inches of rain fell on Clear Fork on May 17, 1949, causing the levees to break. Property damages exceeded $10 million, and 10 people were killed. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

11 of 84 Debris cover a car lot as flood waters, the worst to strike Fort Worth, receded on May 18, 1949. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

13 of 84 An overview of a flooded Fort Worth on May 17, 1949. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

14 of 84 Heavy rain on Sept. 11, 1952, flooded the Pedernales, San Saba, Guadalupe, Comal and Colorado rivers, disrupting the worst drought on record. The flooding of the Colorado River caused Lake Travis to rise 57 feet in 14 hours. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

16 of 84 Because of the Central Texas floods in September 1952, five people died and 17 homes were destroyed. About 23 to 26 inches of rain fell between Kerrville, Blanco and Boerne. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

17 of 84 Angry flood waters were released from the then-new Alvin J. Wirtz dam in Marble Falls in September 1952, which spans the Colorado River. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

19 of 84 A farm house flooded due to high waters in the San Saba River in September 1952. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

20 of 84 A submerged house in New Braunfels due to the flooding of the Guadalupe River in September 1952. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

22 of 84 On May 25, 1954, Hurricane Alice made landfall on the Rio Grande Valley. The Valley received about 35 inches of rain in 36 hours.
Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

23 of 84 In May 1965, rain on the middle Brazos River Basin caused flooding on major tributary streams leading to San Antonio. Rain exceeded six inches, but it was categorized as a severe storm. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

25 of 84 The May 1965 flood caused two deaths and $1 million in damage. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

26 of 84 A flooded San Antonio River at Berg's Mill on May 18, 1965. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

28 of 84 Pictured here is a flooded Olmos Basin on May 18, 1965, with Olmos Dam in the foreground and the Quarry in the background. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

29 of 84 Arroyo City, a string of houses, bait shops and other stores along the Arroyo Colorado was hard hit by Hurricane Beulah in Sept. 19-25, 1967, and the devastating floods that followed on Oct. 8, 1967. Arroyo City is located near the tip of Texas.
Ted Powers/AP photo/Ted Powers Show More Show Less

31 of 84 Some areas have received over 20 inches of rain as a result of Hurricane Beulah. In this photo, an elderly woman resident of a Harlingen nursing home is rescued to safety by ambulance attendants as flood waters threatened the home and the entire Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, on Sept. 23, 1967.
Anonymous/AP photo/Ted Powers Show More Show Less

32 of 84 In this photo, Ricky Knight, 13, is pulled from the floodwaters in the Parkwood Addition of Harlingen, flooded by the overflowing Arroyo Colorado in Harlingen on Sept. 25, 1967. Because of the floods, roads, bridges, fences, livestock, homes and businesses were destroyed all over south Texas west of Victoria to the Rio Grande Ted Powers/AP photo/Ted Powers Show More Show Less

34 of 84 In May 14-15, 1970, heavy rains fell on Central Texas, causing 400 homes to severely flood, as well as many more businesses and public buildings. Three elementary schools were also flooded, and some students had to be rescued by a helicopter. Two children drowned when a small aluminum boat they were being rescued in overturned. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

35 of 84 The San Marcos area received the worst of the May 1970 floods. Because of that, five flood-retention dams were built by the NRCS to prevent additional severe flooding. These structures prevented much of the city from being destroyed in the October 1998 flood when 20-30 inches of rain fell. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

37 of 84 During May 1972, South Central Texas was devastated with torrential rains and major flooding. In this photo, San Antonians stand on Leon Creek, near Culebra and Loop 410. Flash floods crashed throughout the area from May 11-12, 1972. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

38 of 84 In this photo, taken in May 1972, flood waters reached two feet at Olmos Park. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

40 of 84 The major areas that were affected in the May 1972 floods were the San Antonio and Guadalupe rivers, which received up to 16.5 inches in just two hours. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

41 of 84 In this May 12, 1972 photo, flood waters tore up a railroad track and sent a boxcar off the track near Landa Park in New Braunfels. Rains up to 12 inches struck the area that day. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

43 of 84 Because the Guadalupe and San Antonio river basins were flooded, water roared down the Olmos Basin in May 1972. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

44 of 84 Even downtown got wet in May 1972. This photo shows a flooded San Antonio River, looking north to the Houston Street Bridge. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

46 of 84 This photo, taken in May 1972, shows a flooded Olmos Park golf course. Throughout the flash flood period, 17 people died in New Braunfels and one died in McQueeny. Property damage ranged from $15-$20 million. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

47 of 84 In this July 26, 1979, photo, people left the flood area of southeast Houston, and pass by one of many flood victims. The area was hit with heavy rains from the remains of tropical storm Claudette. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

49 of 84 From July 25-26, 1979, Tropical Storm Claudette dropped 43 inches of rain on Brazoria County, a populous county south of Houston. In this photo from July 26, 1979, a young victim wears a smile as she is carried from a boat to high ground in the southeast section of Houston. Other rescued persons leave the boat in the background. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

50 of 84 The next day on July 27, 1979, crews had to rescue people stranded in their flooded homes. During the flood, about 3,000 people were rescued from their homes. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

52 of 84 The final results of the massive amount of rainfall Alvin, a small city south of Houston, received on July 27, 1979. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

53 of 84 Heavy rains on Oct. 31, 1981, hit the Dallas area, with Springtown getting the worst of it. In this photo, a Springtown resident takes a break and has a cigarette in his stalled truck. He was stranded by rising waters from heavy rains of 6-10 inches. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

55 of 84 In this photo, Barry Bobo and Johnny Cannon look in a truck overturned by flood waters in Springtown on Oct. 31, 1981. Due to the rain, the nearby Lake Grapevine reached a high of 563.5 feet, which sent water gushing over its spillway. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

56 of 84 The Hill Country and South Texas received torrential rain from May to July 1987. This photo, taken on July 17, 1987, shows the Guadalupe River at 16 feet above the flood stage. The rain resulted in the worst flood of the Guadalupe River since 1932. During that summer, San Antonio received 18.45 inches of rain. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

58 of 84 As a result of the July 17, 1987, flood, 10 people died. They were all students who were on a school bus, on their way to a church camp. Thirty other students survived. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

59 of 84 Drenching rains from Tropical Storm Allison drenched Texas from Houston to Dallas in June 1989. In this photo, a motor home in the Houston area is sent afloat. Allison dumped more than 10 inches of rain in the Houston area. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

61 of 84 Glen Gibbons, 27, fishes from the roof of a picnic shelter at Lewisville Lake State Park on June 21, 1989. The park was flooded because of heavy rains from Tropical Storm Allison.
Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

62 of 84 This photo, taken on May 3, 1990, shows a flooded Guadalupe River in downtown Kerrville. The banks of the river were swollen throughout the Hill Country, as 60 mph winds, tornadoes and baseball-size hail swept through South, Central and East Texas. That spring, nine people died due to storms. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

64 of 84 On Oct. 18, 1994, Hurricane Rosa stormed through Texas, from the Pacific, up through Mexico. Massive flooding was reported across the state. Twenty-two in the storms path were killed. Texas was left with $700 million in damages. Houston Chronicle file photo Show More Show Less

65 of 84 Two unidentified people paddle past a flooded basketball hoop in the central Texas community of Graveyard Point on June 24, 1997, near Lakeway, Texas. This was the third in a series of El Nino related storms moved into the Texas Hill Country in 1997.
KEVIN L. DELAHUNTY/AP Photo Show More Show Less

67 of 84 Dewy Cooper looks back while piloting a boat over a flooded road in the central Texas community of Graveyard Point, after helping neighbor Mel Pennington view his flooded home on June 23, 1997.
HARRY CABLUCK/AP Photo Show More Show Less

68 of 84 Surfers take advantage of high surf produced by Tropical Storm Charley on Aug. 22-25, 1998. The storm brought torrential rains and flash floods to the Hill Country. Thirteen people lost their lives and more than 200 were injured. KIN MAN HUI/Kin Man HUI Show More Show Less

70 of 84 A rainstorm from Oct. 17󈝿, 1998, set all-time records for rainfall and river levels, resulting in the death of 25 people, and causing more than $500 million damage from the Hill Country to the counties south and east of San Antonio. In this photo, several rescue boats make their way up Esplanade Street in Cuero, Texas. Floodwaters from the Guadalupe River forced the evacuation of residents living close to the river. Jerry Lara/Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

71 of 84 June 5-10, 2001,

marked The Great Flood of 2001, when Tropical Storm Allison dumped showers on the Houston area. About 40 inches of rain, 22 deaths and $5.2 billion in damages were reported.

Steve Ueckert/Houston Chronicle Show More Show Less

73 of 84 From June 30–July 7, 2002, excessive rainfall fell in the South Central and Edwards Plateau regions, and some areas received more than 30 inches of rain. Total damage was estimated at more than $2 billion. In this photo, signs at the intersection of U.S. 281 and Basse Road are nearly submerged by floodwaters in San Antonio. WILLIAM LUTHER Show More Show Less

74 of 84 Over Memorial Day weekend in 2013, as many as eight inches of rain were dropped in South Texas. In this photo, a San Antonio metro bus sits in floodwaters after it was swept off the road during heavy rains on May 25, 2013. Eric Gay/Associated Press Show More Show Less

76 of 84 Flood waters cover eight lanes of Highway 281, May 25, 2013, in San Antonio. The San Antonio International Airport recorded nearly 10 inches of rain in one day.
Eric Gay/Associated Press Show More Show Less

77 of 84 In this photo, a kayaker pulls a raft with children around a flooded baseball park on May 25, 2013, in Alamo Heights.
Eric Gay/Associated Press Show More Show Less

79 of 84 A person is lifted to safety by emergency personnel during flooding off Quicksilver Blvd in southeast Austin, Texas, on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013. Heavy overnight rains brought flooding to the area. The National Weather Service said more than a foot of rain fell in Central Texas, including up to 14 inches in Wimberley, since rainstorms began Wednesday. (AP Photo/The Austin American-Statesman, Deborah Cannon) AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, INTERNET MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM, NO SALES Deborah Cannon/Associated Press Show More Show Less

80 of 84 Motorists are stranded along I-45 along North Main in Houston after storms flooded the area, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Overnight heavy rains caused flooding closing some portions of major highways in the Houston area. (Cody Duty/Houston Chronicle via AP) Cody Duty/Associated Press Show More Show Less

82 of 84 Bexar County Sheriff’s Department rescued a total of four special needs students and two adults from a flooded bus on Scenic Loop on Oct. 30, 2015. Courtesy Show More Show Less

83 of 84 A neighborhood near Addicks Reservoir is flooded by rain from Harvey in Houston in this Aug. 29 photo. A draft of the state’s first major Hurricane Harvey recovery spending plan calls for Houston and Harris County to each receive more than $1 billion in aid. David J. Phillip /Associated Press Show More Show Less

As history shows, Texas isn&rsquot always just bluebonnets and sunshine, sometimes weather here can get down-right messy.

Looking back at the major floods that sideswiped Texas, the state&rsquos rivers and reservoirs took a beating, from the Rio Grande to the Red River.

One of the biggest floods to hit Texas was in July 1869, when the Colorado River exceeded 55 feet due to a week-long rainfall that swelled streams across the state, according to the USGS. Heading south, the Colorado River&rsquos angry waters submerged small towns Bastrop and La Grange, both southeast of Austin.

But going into the 20th and 21st Centuries, floods in Texas caused hundreds of deaths and billions of dollars in property damage, as well as many reforms for waterway and dam structures.

Click through the slideshow above to view the major floods that shook Texas.


New FEMA maps show areas of San Antonio most likely to flood

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently released updated preliminary flood maps for Bexar County which show areas of the county most susceptible to flooding. In the image above, the yellow lines show revisions made to the updated map.

Click through the slideshow to see close ups of the affected areas.

Courtesy of San Antonio River Authority Show More Show Less

Fort Sam Houston area, near Interstate 35

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently released updated preliminary flood maps for Bexar County which show areas of the county most susceptible to flooding. The area of town shown in the image above is one of the affected areas.

U.S. Hwy 281, just north of Basse Road

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently released updated preliminary flood maps for Bexar County which show areas of the county most susceptible to flooding. The area of town shown in the image above is one of the affected areas.

Interstate 10 near Fredericksburg Road

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently released updated preliminary flood maps for Bexar County which show areas of the county most susceptible to flooding. The area of town shown in the image above is one of the affected areas.

Fort Sam Houston area, south of Austin Highway

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently released updated preliminary flood maps for Bexar County which show areas of the county most susceptible to flooding. The area of town shown in the image above is one of the affected areas.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently released updated preliminary flood maps for Bexar County which show areas of the county most susceptible to flooding. The area of town shown in the image above is one of the affected areas.

U.S. 281 and Loop 410 interchange

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recently released updated preliminary flood maps for Bexar County which show areas of the county most susceptible to flooding. The area of town shown in the image above is one of the affected areas.

11 of 95 Texas has been hit with dozens of major floods throughout the years, which have caused hundreds of deaths and billions of dollars in damage. Keep clicking to see the most catastrophic floods in Texas' history, since 1913. File Show More Show Less

13 of 95 During a classic El Nino year in 1913, heavy rains drenched Texas. In this photo, taken during the December 1913 floods, kids wade in feet-high water on St. Mary's Street at Houston Streets. The last tens days in November 1913 saw heavy rains that laid the foundation for flooding during the first five days of December. Rainfall totals measured 20 to 25 inches, causing 180 drownings.
Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

14 of 95 The Thrall Flood in 1921 drenched San Antonio due to a tropical storm that formed in the Bay of Campeche. In this photo from Sept. 21, 1921, soldiers float in a boat down St. Mary's Street. During 36 hours, the amount of rainfall stood at 39.7 inches, which drowned 51 people. Courtesy photo / Arcadia Publishing Show More Show Less

16 of 95 As a result of the Sept. 9-10, 1921 flood, the city decided to build the Olmos Dam to deter flash flooding. This photo shows one of the 13 bridges that were destroyed due to the flood. Ernst Wilhelm Raba/Courtesy Photo Show More Show Less

17 of 95 In 1935, exceptional floods occurred in May on Seco Creek, in June on the Colorado and Nueces Rivers and their tributaries, and in December on Buffalo Bayou. This photo shows a washed out downtown Houston after Buffalo Bayou flooding in December 1935.
Houston Press Show More Show Less

19 of 95 A flood in May 1949 marked the worst flood in Fort Worth's history, due to the Clear Fork of the Trinity River breaking its levees and spilling into the city. This photo shows an overview of a soaked Fort Worth on May 17, 1949. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

20 of 95 An estimated 11 inches of rain fell on Clear Fork on May 17, 1949, causing the levees to break. Property damages exceeded $10 million, and 10 people were killed. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

22 of 95 Debris cover a car lot as flood waters, the worst to strike Fort Worth, receded on May 18, 1949. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

23 of 95 An overview of a flooded Fort Worth on May 17, 1949. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

25 of 95 Heavy rain on Sept. 11, 1952, flooded the Pedernales, San Saba, Guadalupe, Comal and Colorado rivers, disrupting the worst drought on record. The flooding of the Colorado River caused Lake Travis to rise 57 feet in 14 hours. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

26 of 95 Because of the Central Texas floods in September 1952, five people died and 17 homes were destroyed. About 23 to 26 inches of rain fell between Kerrville, Blanco and Boerne. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

28 of 95 Angry flood waters were released from the then-new Alvin J. Wirtz dam in Marble Falls in September 1952, which spans the Colorado River. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

29 of 95 A farm house flooded due to high waters in the San Saba River in September 1952. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

31 of 95 A submerged house in New Braunfels due to the flooding of the Guadalupe River in September 1952. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

32 of 95 On May 25, 1954, Hurricane Alice made landfall on the Rio Grande Valley. The Valley received about 35 inches of rain in 36 hours.
Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

34 of 95 In May 1965, rain on the middle Brazos River Basin caused flooding on major tributary streams leading to San Antonio. Rain exceeded six inches, but it was categorized as a severe storm. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

35 of 95 The May 1965 flood caused two deaths and $1 million in damage. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

37 of 95 A flooded San Antonio River at Berg's Mill on May 18, 1965. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

38 of 95 Pictured here is a flooded Olmos Basin on May 18, 1965, with Olmos Dam in the foreground and the Quarry in the background. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

40 of 95 Arroyo City, a string of houses, bait shops and other stores along the Arroyo Colorado was hard hit by Hurricane Beulah in Sept. 19-25, 1967, and the devastating floods that followed on Oct. 8, 1967. Arroyo City is located near the tip of Texas.
Ted Powers/AP photo/Ted Powers Show More Show Less

41 of 95 Some areas have received over 20 inches of rain as a result of Hurricane Beulah. In this photo, an elderly woman resident of a Harlingen nursing home is rescued to safety by ambulance attendants as flood waters threatened the home and the entire Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, on Sept. 23, 1967.
Anonymous/AP photo/Ted Powers Show More Show Less

43 of 95 In this photo, Ricky Knight, 13, is pulled from the floodwaters in the Parkwood Addition of Harlingen, flooded by the overflowing Arroyo Colorado in Harlingen on Sept. 25, 1967. Because of the floods, roads, bridges, fences, livestock, homes and businesses were destroyed all over south Texas west of Victoria to the Rio Grande Ted Powers/AP photo/Ted Powers Show More Show Less

44 of 95 In May 14-15, 1970, heavy rains fell on Central Texas, causing 400 homes to severely flood, as well as many more businesses and public buildings. Three elementary schools were also flooded, and some students had to be rescued by a helicopter. Two children drowned when a small aluminum boat they were being rescued in overturned. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

46 of 95 The San Marcos area received the worst of the May 1970 floods. Because of that, five flood-retention dams were built by the NRCS to prevent additional severe flooding. These structures prevented much of the city from being destroyed in the October 1998 flood when 20-30 inches of rain fell. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

47 of 95 During May 1972, South Central Texas was devastated with torrential rains and major flooding. In this photo, San Antonians stand on Leon Creek, near Culebra and Loop 410. Flash floods crashed throughout the area from May 11-12, 1972. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

49 of 95 In this photo, taken in May 1972, flood waters reached two feet at Olmos Park. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

50 of 95 The major areas that were affected in the May 1972 floods were the San Antonio and Guadalupe rivers, which received up to 16.5 inches in just two hours. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

52 of 95 In this May 12, 1972 photo, flood waters tore up a railroad track and sent a boxcar off the track near Landa Park in New Braunfels. Rains up to 12 inches struck the area that day. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

53 of 95 Because the Guadalupe and San Antonio river basins were flooded, water roared down the Olmos Basin in May 1972. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

55 of 95 Even downtown got wet in May 1972. This photo shows a flooded San Antonio River, looking north to the Houston Street Bridge. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

56 of 95 This photo, taken in May 1972, shows a flooded Olmos Park golf course. Throughout the flash flood period, 17 people died in New Braunfels and one died in McQueeny. Property damage ranged from $15-$20 million. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

58 of 95 In this July 26, 1979, photo, people left the flood area of southeast Houston, and pass by one of many flood victims. The area was hit with heavy rains from the remains of tropical storm Claudette. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

59 of 95 From July 25-26, 1979, Tropical Storm Claudette dropped 43 inches of rain on Brazoria County, a populous county south of Houston. In this photo from July 26, 1979, a young victim wears a smile as she is carried from a boat to high ground in the southeast section of Houston. Other rescued persons leave the boat in the background. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

61 of 95 The next day on July 27, 1979, crews had to rescue people stranded in their flooded homes. During the flood, about 3,000 people were rescued from their homes. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

62 of 95 The final results of the massive amount of rainfall Alvin, a small city south of Houston, received on July 27, 1979. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

64 of 95 Heavy rains on Oct. 31, 1981, hit the Dallas area, with Springtown getting the worst of it. In this photo, a Springtown resident takes a break and has a cigarette in his stalled truck. He was stranded by rising waters from heavy rains of 6-10 inches. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

65 of 95 In this photo, Barry Bobo and Johnny Cannon look in a truck overturned by flood waters in Springtown on Oct. 31, 1981. Due to the rain, the nearby Lake Grapevine reached a high of 563.5 feet, which sent water gushing over its spillway. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

67 of 95 The Hill Country and South Texas received torrential rain from May to July 1987. This photo, taken on July 17, 1987, shows the Guadalupe River at 16 feet above the flood stage. The rain resulted in the worst flood of the Guadalupe River since 1932. During that summer, San Antonio received 18.45 inches of rain. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

68 of 95 As a result of the July 17, 1987, flood, 10 people died. They were all students who were on a school bus, on their way to a church camp. Thirty other students survived. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

70 of 95 Drenching rains from Tropical Storm Allison drenched Texas from Houston to Dallas in June 1989. In this photo, a motor home in the Houston area is sent afloat. Allison dumped more than 10 inches of rain in the Houston area. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

71 of 95 Glen Gibbons, 27, fishes from the roof of a picnic shelter at Lewisville Lake State Park on June 21, 1989. The park was flooded because of heavy rains from Tropical Storm Allison.
Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

73 of 95 This photo, taken on May 3, 1990, shows a flooded Guadalupe River in downtown Kerrville. The banks of the river were swollen throughout the Hill Country, as 60 mph winds, tornadoes and baseball-size hail swept through South, Central and East Texas. That spring, nine people died due to storms. Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

74 of 95 On Oct. 18, 1994, Hurricane Rosa stormed through Texas, from the Pacific, up through Mexico. Massive flooding was reported across the state. Twenty-two in the storms path were killed. Texas was left with $700 million in damages. Houston Chronicle file photo Show More Show Less

76 of 95 Two unidentified people paddle past a flooded basketball hoop in the central Texas community of Graveyard Point on June 24, 1997, near Lakeway, Texas. This was the third in a series of El Nino related storms moved into the Texas Hill Country in 1997.
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77 of 95 Dewy Cooper looks back while piloting a boat over a flooded road in the central Texas community of Graveyard Point, after helping neighbor Mel Pennington view his flooded home on June 23, 1997.
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79 of 95 Surfers take advantage of high surf produced by Tropical Storm Charley on Aug. 22-25, 1998. The storm brought torrential rains and flash floods to the Hill Country. Thirteen people lost their lives and more than 200 were injured. KIN MAN HUI/Kin Man HUI Show More Show Less

80 of 95 A rainstorm from Oct. 17󈝿, 1998, set all-time records for rainfall and river levels, resulting in the death of 25 people, and causing more than $500 million damage from the Hill Country to the counties south and east of San Antonio. In this photo, several rescue boats make their way up Esplanade Street in Cuero, Texas. Floodwaters from the Guadalupe River forced the evacuation of residents living close to the river. Jerry Lara/Express-News file photo Show More Show Less

82 of 95 June 5-10, 2001,

marked The Great Flood of 2001, when Tropical Storm Allison dumped showers on the Houston area. About 40 inches of rain, 22 deaths and $5.2 billion in damages were reported.

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83 of 95 From June 30–July 7, 2002, excessive rainfall fell in the South Central and Edwards Plateau regions, and some areas received more than 30 inches of rain. Total damage was estimated at more than $2 billion. In this photo, signs at the intersection of U.S. 281 and Basse Road are nearly submerged by floodwaters in San Antonio. WILLIAM LUTHER Show More Show Less

85 of 95 Over Memorial Day weekend in 2013, as many as eight inches of rain were dropped in South Texas. In this photo, a San Antonio metro bus sits in floodwaters after it was swept off the road during heavy rains on May 25, 2013. Eric Gay/Associated Press Show More Show Less

86 of 95 Flood waters cover eight lanes of Highway 281, May 25, 2013, in San Antonio. The San Antonio International Airport recorded nearly 10 inches of rain in one day.
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88 of 95 In this photo, a kayaker pulls a raft with children around a flooded baseball park on May 25, 2013, in Alamo Heights.
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89 of 95 A person is lifted to safety by emergency personnel during flooding off Quicksilver Blvd in southeast Austin, Texas, on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013. Heavy overnight rains brought flooding to the area. The National Weather Service said more than a foot of rain fell in Central Texas, including up to 14 inches in Wimberley, since rainstorms began Wednesday. (AP Photo/The Austin American-Statesman, Deborah Cannon) AUSTIN CHRONICLE OUT, COMMUNITY IMPACT OUT, INTERNET MUST CREDIT PHOTOGRAPHER AND STATESMAN.COM, NO SALES Deborah Cannon/Associated Press Show More Show Less

91 of 95 Motorists are stranded along I-45 along North Main in Houston after storms flooded the area, Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Overnight heavy rains caused flooding closing some portions of major highways in the Houston area. (Cody Duty/Houston Chronicle via AP) Cody Duty/Associated Press Show More Show Less

92 of 95 Bexar County Sheriff’s Department rescued a total of four special needs students and two adults from a flooded bus on Scenic Loop on Oct. 30, 2015. Courtesy Show More Show Less

94 of 95 A neighborhood near Addicks Reservoir is flooded by rain from Harvey in Houston in this Aug. 29 photo. A draft of the state’s first major Hurricane Harvey recovery spending plan calls for Houston and Harris County to each receive more than $1 billion in aid. David J. Phillip /Associated Press Show More Show Less

Editors' note: This story was originally published in September 2018.

For the first time in eight years, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has released updated flood maps for Bexar County that show how susceptible neighborhoods are to flooding and are used to determine flood insurance rates.

The current maps available are preliminary, meaning the public can see them but insurance agencies cannot yet use them to establish rates. After a public comment period in early 2019, the maps will be made final, according to a FEMA flood plain official.

In Bexar County, areas near the Airport Tributary, on the west side of the airport, the Fort Sam Tributary, to the east of Terrell Hills, and Martinez Creek, around the Beacon Hill Linear Park, will be affected, according to San Antonio River Authority Senior Engineer Erin Cavazos.

The flood maps are essentially a snapshot in time, showing the current likelihood of experiencing a flood rather than predicting the future, a FEMA flood plain official said. Areas with a 1 percent or higher risk of experiencing flooding are considering high risk, and insurance rates may vary accordingly.

Areas with less than a 1 percent chance of flooding are considered moderate- or low-risk. With heavy rain or tropical storms, however, any part of the city can flood.

"It is important for property owners outside of high-risk areas to be prepared," a FEMA flood plain official said in an email. "Eighty-one percent of the owners of Hurricane Harvey-damaged property outside of the high risk flood areas did not have a flood insurance policy."

The preliminary maps are issued several months before the final maps are released in order to give property owners plenty of time to find errors and report them and to speak to insurance agents about how the new maps may affect their rates. Errors can range from misspelled street names to inaccurate floodplain boundaries, if the complainant provides technical data to support the case, Cavazos said.

The public comment in 2019 will be preceded by a notice in the Federal Register as well as two public notices in each community's newspapers. The public will then have 90 days to note errors.

In addition to updating the Bexar County maps, FEMA also released preliminary maps for Bandera, Kendall, Kerr and Medina Counties, which were last issued maps in 2011.

&ldquoAt that time, most of the panels were digitized from paper maps but not restudied,&rdquo Cavazos said in an email, adding that there have been smaller area updates through the letter of map revision process since then.

In Bandera County, FEMA and local authorities restudied the majority of the county. In Medina County, they restudied the Medina River through Castroville and up to the Medina Dam, as well as its tributaries, Cavazos said. Minimal restudy was performed in Kerr and Kendall Counties.

Click through the slideshow to see if your street was affected by the restudy.