Community of the Week:
Upcoming Events -
Now-Dec. 31: Exhibit: "1913: A City Under Water" at the Indiana Historical Society. This is the ninth "You are There" experience presented by the IHS, located at 450 W. Ohio Street, Indianapolis, IN..
For more 1913 Commemoration Events, please see our Events page!
In late March of 1913 rain fell in such an excess over the Ohio Valley that no river in Ohio and most of Indiana remained in its banks. Bridges, roads, railways, dams, and property were washed away. In its wake, at least 600 lost their lives, a quarter million people were left homeless, and damages were estimated in the hundreds of millions, making it at that time one of the worst natural disasters the United States had witnessed.
|The flood was second only to Noah's|
|—Bishop Milton Wright, father of Orville and Wilbur and Dayton flood survivor|
When disaster struck this part of the U.S. starting Easter Sunday, 1913 and lasting for weeks, it had a ripple effect across the entire nation. The damage to roads, railways, telephone and electrical lines paralyzed commerce in and out of the region. This affected people across the country, unlike previous disasters where impacts were primarily localized. As a result, there was national outcry for state and federal governments to reevaluate their role in flood control.
An era of flood awareness followed immediately after the flood. Out of the chaos grew the demand for more protection ultimately resulting in new dams, levees, and floodwalls along communities hardest hit, mostly spearheaded by the Miami Conservancy District in Ohio.
This and future floods continued to expand the nation's interest and investments into flood control. Today those in emergency response realize how critical flood awareness and preparedness can be in reducing our threat to life and property in the face of future floods.
In the one hundred years since the Great Flood of 1913 there have been great strides in reducing the threat to life and property from floods. Some of these strategies include:
• Prevention measures (building, zoning, storm water management, floodplain regulations)
• Property protection measures (acquisition, elevation, relocation, flood insurance)
• Natural resource protection (wetland protection, erosion/sediment control)
• Emergency services (warning programs, disaster response)
• Structural projects (dams, levees, channel modifications)
• Public information (outreach, technical assistance, education)
• Flood Warnings and alerts
It has been learned time and time again that it is through a combination of these efforts that the loss of life and property can be greatly reduced during a flood. The authority to implement these strategies is spread across various government agencies, the private sector, non-profits, academia, and more. The ability of these agencies to collaborate through the Silver Jackets teams has and will continue to help reduce the impact from future floods.