100-year anniversary of what some call Ohio's "Great Flood," which occurred before some reservoirs were built for flood control.
This Ohio weather event occurred between March 21-27, 1913.
The statewide extent of death and destruction in the Flood of 1913 exceeds all other weather events in Ohio history, justifying the title of “Ohio’s greatest weather disaster.” Rainfall over the state totaled 6-11 inches and no section was unaffected. The death toll was 467 and more than 40,000 homes were flooded.
At Dayton, the Great Miami River flooded 14 square miles of the city and water ran in swift currents 10 feet deep through downtown streets. The flood killed 123 people in Dayton. Downstream on the Miami River, there were about 100 deaths in Hamilton where water was 10 to 18 feet deep in residential areas. Approximately 100 died in Columbus when the Scioto River reached record levels and poured 9 to 17 feet deep through neighborhoods.
The Muskingum River at Zanesville crested 27 feet above flood stage and water was 20 feet deep at several downtown intersections.
The Maumee River crested 10 feet above flood stage at Defiance where 268 homes were under water. Many people were rescued from rooftops and trees in Tiffin but 19 died when homes collapsed into the Sandusky River.
The Cuyahoga River washed away docks, lumberyards, trains, and rail yards in Cleveland. Seven locks were dynamited on the Ohio Canal at Akron, allowing the floodwaters to pour into the Cuyahoga.
Levees along the Ohio River at Portsmouth were topped, flooding 4,500 homes. The Ohio River at Cincinnati rose 21 feet in 24 hours. A system of flood control reservoirs was established by the Miami Conservancy District after the flood of 1913.
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From the Wikipedia page about the Dayton flooding:
The following events took place between March 21 and 26 in 1913.
- Friday, March 21, 1913
- The first storm arrives with strong winds with temperatures at 60 degrees.
- Saturday, March 22, 1913
- The area experiences a sunny day until the second storm arrives, dropping temperatures to the 20s causing the ground to briefly freeze on the surface during the morning and thaw out by late afternoon.
- Sunday, March 23, 1913 (Easter Sunday)
- The third storm brings rain to the entire Ohio River valley area. The saturated land can’t absorb any more water, and nearly all of the rain becomes run off that flows into the Great Miami River and its tributaries.
- March 24, 1913
- 7:00 am - After a day and night of heavy rains with precipitation between 8-11 inches, the river reaches its high stage for the year at 11.6 feet (3.5 m) and continues to rise.
- March 25, 1913
- Midnight - The Dayton Police are warned that the Herman Street levee was weakening and they start the warning sirens and alarms.
- 5:30 am - The City Engineer, Gaylord Cummin, reports that water is at the top of the levees and is flowing at 100,000 cubic feet per second (2,800 m3/s), an unprecedented rate.
- 6:00 am - Water overflowing the levees begins to appear in the city streets.
- 8:00 am - The levees on the south side of the downtown business district fail and flooding begins downtown.
- Water levels continue to rise throughout the day.
- March 26, 1913
- 1:30 am - The waters crest, reaching up to 20 feet (6.1 m) deep in the downtown area.
- Later that morning, a gas explosion downtown near the intersection of 5th Street and Wilkinson starts a fire that destroys most of a city block. The open gas lines were responsible for several fires throughout the city. The fire department was unable to reach the fires and many additional buildings were lost.