Summary of floods in the United States during 1962

Water Supply Paper 1820

Prepared in cooperation with Federal, State, and local agencies



This report describes the most outstanding floods in the United Spates during 1962. The most damaging floods during the year occurred in February in southern Idaho and northern Nevada and Utah, and during the latter part of February and the early part of March in Kentucky and in the Cumberland River basin in Tennessee.

The floods in Idaho and adjacent areas of Nevada and Utah resulted from a combination of prolonged low-intensity rainfall, moderate amounts of snow on low-altitude areas, a period of high temperatures, and a glaze of ice over deeply frozen ground. The floods affected some of the most valuable agricultural land in the region and some of the most heavily populated areas in Idaho. Damage in Idaho was estimated at more than \$7 million.

The floods in Kentucky and Tennessee were caused by two storms; precipitation exceeded 7 inches at places during the second storm. Damage in Kentucky totaled about \$7 million.

Recordbreaking snowmelt floods occurred in March and April in southeastern South Dakota and adjacent areas. Many peak discharges were much greater than those that can be expected to occur on an average of once in 25 years. Peak discharges on the Floyd River and the Big Sioux River were the greatest snowmelt floods since 1881. Damage in South Dakota was estimated at \$4 million.

Heavy rains during May and intense rains in early June caused flooding in Minnesota on tributaries of the Red River of the North. Peak discharges exceeded previous maximums at some areas in the basins of the Buffalo, Clearwater, and Wild Rice Rivers. Damage from the floods of May and June in Minnesota was about \$5 million.

The greatest flood since 1920 in Rapid City, S. Dak., caused at out $600,000 damage in July. The great runoff of 3,300 cubic feet per second, from a relatively small area downstream from Pactola Reservoir, resulted from rainfall having an intensity greater than that for a 100-year recurrence interval.

Floods caused almost \$3 million damage in three river basins' in western Florida in September. The greatest damage was in Sarasota where from 3 to 7 feet of water flooded homes and stores. About 70,000 acres of farmland and woodland was inundated.

Unusual floods of September in southern Arizona flooded areas up to 10 miles wide. Damage, which totaled about \$3 million, was almost entirely to farms, as the flood area is sparsely populated.

In addition to the floods just mentioned, 15 others of lesser magnitude are considered outstanding enough to be included in this annual summary.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Summary of floods in the United States during 1962
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
vii, 134 p.
United States