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Hurricane Agnes rainfall and floods, June-July 1972

Professional Paper 924

By:
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Abstract

Hurricane Agnes originated in the Caribbean Sea region in mid-June. Circulation barely reached hurricane intensity for a brief period in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm crossed the Florida Panhandle coastline on June 19, 1972, and followed an unusually extended overland trajectory combining with an extratropical system to bring very heavy rain from the Carolinas northward to New York. This torrential rain followed the abnormally wet May weather in the Middle Atlantic States and set the stage for the subsequent major flooding. The record-breaking floods occurred in the Middle Atlantic States in late June and early July 1972. Many streams in the affected area experienced peak discharges several times the previous maxima of record. Estimated recurrence intervals of peak flows at many gaging stations on major rivers and their tributaries exceeded 100 years. The suspended-sediment concentration and load of most flooded streams were also unusually high. The widespread flooding from this storm caused Agnes to be called the most destructive hurricane in United States history, claiming 117 lives and causing damage estimated at $3.1 billion in 12 States. Damage was particularly high in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. The detailed life history of Hurricane Agnes, including the tropical depression and tropical storm stages, is traced. Associated rainfalls are analyzed and compared with climatologic recurrence values. These are followed by a detailed description of the flood and streamflows of each affected basin. A summary of peak stages and discharges and comparison data for previous floods at 989 stations are presented. Deaths and flood damage estimates are compiled.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Hurricane Agnes rainfall and floods, June-July 1972
Series title:
Professional Paper
Series number:
924
Year Published:
1975
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Government Printing Office
Contributing office(s):
Pennsylvania Water Science Center
Description:
403 p.