Summary of floods in the United States during 1958

Water Supply Paper 1660-B

Prepared in cooperation with Federal, State, and local agencies



This report describes the most outstanding floods that occurred in the United States during 1958.

A series of storms from January 23 to February 16 brought large amounts of precipitation to northern California and produced damaging floods, particularly in the Lower Sacramento Valley where losses totaled about \$12 million.

Major floods, notable because of the large area affected, occurred on many small streams in central and south Texas, following heavy general rains in late February. Extensive flooding occurred along the Gulf Coastal plain on the lower reaches of the major streams from the Brazos River to the Nueces River. Two lives were lost, and property damage exceeded \$1 million.

Damaging floods of April 1-7 followed one of the wettest winters in California history. Swollen streams overflowed their banks throughout the central part of the State, and discharge peaks on many streams exceeded those .of the floods of December 1955. Most severely flooded was the San Francisco Bay area. Total flood damage was estimated at \$23 million.

The storms and floods of April-May in Louisiana and adjacent States outranked all other floods in the United States during 1958 with respect to intensity of rain over a large area, number of streams having maximum discharge of record, rare occurrence of peaks, and great amount (\$21 million) of resultant damage.

Heavy rains on June 8-15 caused one of the greatest summer floods of record in central Indiana. Peak discharges were high and of rare occurrences. Failure of numerous levees along the Wabash River caused great damage. Crop damage alone was estimated at \$48 million.

Intense rains of July 1-2 caused record-breaking floods in southwestern Iowa. Rapid rises and the great magnitude of the floods on small streams resulted in 18 deaths and many injuries. Six towns and cities along the East Nishnabotna River and its tributaries were particularly hard hit; rural damage was also high. Total damage was estimated at \$15 million.

Heavy rains (as much as 40 inches during the last 2 weeks in September) from the middle of September to the middle of October caused destructive floods along the Rio Grande in Texas and Mexico. Many communities were isolated by the flood waters, and damage to crops was great.

In addition to the 7 floods mentioned above, 21 others of lesser magnitude are reported in this annual summary.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Summary of floods in the United States during 1958
Series title:
Water Supply Paper
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Government Printing Office
Publisher location:
Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s):
Utah Water Science Center
vi, 97 p.
United States