Summary of floods in the United States during 1959

Water Supply Paper 1750-B




This report describes the most outstanding floods that occurred in the United States during 1959.

The floods of January-February in Ohio and adjacent States were the most outstanding floods of the year 1959 with respect to area affected, number of streams having maximum discharge of record, rare occurrence of peaks, and great amount of damage caused.

Floods in the Rock River basin in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois during late March and early April produced maximum stages and discharges on many streams. The Rock River at Watertown, Wisc., was the highest in 40 years and Lake Mendota at Madison, Wisc., reached its maximum stage since 1916. Many towns were flooded and thousands of persons were forced from their homes.

What is possibly the greatest 24-hour rainfall ever to be noted in Iowa fell August 5-6. The resulting floods inundated an 80-block area in Fort Madison, Iowa, and caused damage estimated at $600,000 in the city. A total of 130,000 acres of land was inundated.

Major floods occurred in Texas in the upper Trinity, middle Brazos, middle Colorado, upper Guadalupe, and upper Nueces River basins in early October, following heavy general rains that covered most of Texas. The peak stage on North Bosque River near Clifton was the highest known since 1887. More than \$1 million in damage was reported for Houston.

In addition to the 4 floods mentioned above, 22 others of lesser magnitude are considered important enough to report in this annual summary.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Summary of floods in the United States during 1959
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, 101 p.
United States