U.S. Floods of 1989
By C.A. Perry, B.N. Aldridge, and H.C. Ross of the USGS
The first significant floods of 1989 struck the Ohio and middle
Mississippi River Basins in February. Severe flooding occurred in
Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio on February 12-16. Additional floods
occurred in the same area on March 4-6. The Hatchie River in Tennessee was
above flood stage for 3 months during late winter and early spring.
Severe floods struck central Indiana and southwestern Ohio late in May.
A maximum of record occurred on Seven Mile Creek at Camden, Ohio.
Numerous minor flash floods occurred at many locations in the United
States throughout the months of June and July. Nearly all of them were due
to intense rains that fell during short periods of time from
thunderstorms, resulting in rapid rises on rivers and streams. Flash
flooding was intensified in urban areas because large areas of impervious
surfaces increase runoff.
Tropical Storm Allison brought extensive rains to southeastern Texas,
Louisiana, and Oklahoma in late June and early July. Significant flooding
was reported throughout Texas and Louisiana. The storm made landfall
northeast of Galveston and moved northeastward through eastern Texas and
western Louisiana. Remnants of the storm produced flood-causing rains in
New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.
Hurricane Hugo caused severe coastal and riverine flooding during
September. Before striking the southeastern United States, Hugo devastated
the Virgin Islands and eastern Puerto Rico with coastal flooding due to
storm surges of as much as 11 ft and riverine flooding from more than 10
in. of rain in a 2-day period. When the hurricane hit South Carolina,
storm surges of as much as 20 ft flooded the coastal areas. The hurricane
killed 26 persons and caused $9 billion in damages.