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Midwest Regional Climate CenterHosted by the
Midwestern
Regional
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Community Profiles:  Huntington, Indiana

River: Wabash
Storm Total Rainfall: 5.40", Snowfall total of 6" on March 26th-27th
Known Fatalities:  

TimelineMap of Huntington, IN area

The March 1913 flood in the Huntington area is the greatest known flood to strike the local area and its streams and rivers.  Although the official weather observer at Huntington “only” recorded 5.40 inches of liquid precipitation, much heavier rainfall occurred immediately east of Huntington in the watersheds that affect the area.  Fort Wayne reported 7.21 inches and Bluffton 9.59 inches.  Rain began 8 a.m. CST on the 23rd and continued through much of the day on the 25th.  Rain changed to heavy snow at 5 p.m. CST on the 26th, with snowfall moderating on the 27th.  A total of 6 inches of snow fell over those two days. 
 

Impacts

Photos and articles below courtesy the Huntington City-Township Public Library, and local historian B. Joan Keefer.

The headline of the March 25, 1913 morning edition of The Huntington Press exclaimed, "Worst Flood in History Menaces City and County." While articles about heroic local efforts such as, "boats ply submierged region all night, rescuing imperiled families," and menacing torrents in other area communities, the paper also carried news of the hundreds in Omaha, Nebraska and Terre Haute, Indiana who lost their lives to tornadoes.

Snow on the roofs of flooded homes in Huntington, INThat evening, flooding was worse than in the morning. The Huntington Herald managed to publish their evening edition, despite having no power. They reported the "boiler room of the Huntington Light & Fuel company was flooded late Tuesday morning and the power ceased," and that "steam and eletric roads" had suspended operation. Trains were not running, with the exception of work trains hauling ballast in the hopes of keeping weak stretches of roadbed from washing out. As with many communities suffering through the flood, they were isolated, without power, and had only restricted wire service to reach the outside world.

Flood Protection Measures

The Corps of Engineers JE Roush Reservoir provides nearly 100% flood control of the Wabash River in the Huntington area.  The reservoir was placed into operation on January 9, 1969.  Flooding is still possible when extreme rain events like those of July 2003 occur.

To update information about the March 1913 flood story of Huntington contact Al Shipe by e-mail al.shipe@noaa.gov.

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