NEWS NOTES ON SUSTAINABLE WATER RESOURCESChristmas Floodhttps://www.usgs.gov/news/christmas-flood-1964The Christmas Flood of 1964“The Christma...

NEWS NOTES ON SUSTAINABLE WATER RESOURCESChristmas Floodhttps://www.usgs.gov/news/christmas-flood-1964The Christmas Flood of 1964“The Christma...NEWS NOTES ON SUSTAINABLE WATER RESOURCES

Christmas Flood

https://www.usgs.gov/news/christmas-flood-1964

The Christmas Flood of 1964

“The Christmas flood of 1964 encompassed about 200,000 square miles, or roughly the size of France, resulted in 47 deaths, left thousands homeless and caused more than $540 million ($3.9 billion today) worth of damage.”

“Areas of severe flooding from December 1964 and January 1965, which encompassed about 200,000 square miles, resulted in 47 deaths, left thousands homeless and caused more than $540 million ($3.9 billion today) worth of damage.”

“The Christmas flood of 1964 encompassed about 200,000 square miles, or roughly the size of France, resulted in 47 deaths, left thousands homeless and caused more than $540 million ($3.9 billion today) worth of damage. Areas in Oregon, Idaho, California, Washington and Nevada experienced record-breaking floods caused by three storms between Dec. 19 and Jan. 31. Agencies from federal, state and local governments will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Pacific Northwest 1964 Christmas flood starting Dec. 10.”
Flood Awareness

“During this holiday season, the 1964 Christmas flood reminds us that flooding is a national problem and can happen anytime, anywhere. According to the National Weather Service, over the past 30 years, nationwide annual flood damages averaged $8.2 billion with 89 fatalities per year.”

“The Christmas flood of 1964 was driven by a series of storms, known as atmospheric rivers or “pineapple expresses,” that battered the region producing as much as 15 inches of rain in 24 hours at some locations. The combination of heavy rain, melting snow, and frozen ground caused extreme runoff, erosion and flooding.”

“It was a classic rain-on-snow event,” said Marc Stewart a hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey. “In addition to the rain, there were already several inches of water from the melting snow, so it was a big runoff event across a wide area.”

“The flood caused record-breaking peak streamflows, transported large amounts of sediment, and inflicted extensive flood damage. However, in many areas storage in reservoirs and operation of flood-control facilities prevented far greater damage.”