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Midwest Regional Climate CenterHosted by the
Midwestern
Regional
Climate Center

Community Profiles:  Columbus, Indiana

River: East Fork White River
Storm Total Rainfall:  
Known Fatalities:  

TimelineEast Ford White River gage at Columbus, IN

The East Fork White River at Columbus experienced a flood more than 6 inches higher than the March 1913 flood on June 8, 2008.  The river crested at a record stage of 18.61 feet compared to 17.90 feet in March 1913.  The March 1913 flood remains the largest known volume flow for the East Fork White River at Columbus with an estimated peak flood discharge of 100,000 cubic feet per second compared to 68, 100 cubic feet per second in June 2008.  Development in the East Fork White River’s flood plain since 1913 has reduced its flow capacity.  A return of the volume of water for the March 1913 flood would cause a flood higher than in June 2008.

The Great June 2008 flood was the result of 4 to possibly more than 12 inches of rainfall falling in a 12-hour period on saturated soils in Morgan, Johnson, southern Shelby and northern Bartholomew counties late on June 6 and through late morning on June 7.  Prior to the rain, the East Fork White River at Columbus was one foot above the flood stage of 9 feet and rising slowly.  The river crested more than 8.5 feet higher about 15 hours after the rain ended.  Below is a special rainfall map of the event compiled by the Ohio River Forecast Center.Two-Day Accumulated Precipitation 6/8/2008

Impacts

In the resulting tsunami like flood wave, two people perished in the Columbus area and the city of Columbus was isolated by flood waters for over 12 hours.  Flooding inundated residential and business areas alike.  More than 1500 homes flooded in the Columbus area.  Flooding along Haw Creek shut down the Columbus Regional Hospital and the headquarters of Cummins, to list a few commercial enterprises struck.  The flood of June 2008 caused more than 100 million dollars in damage to the Columbus area. Flood waters covered thousands of acres of farmland, washed out roads and railroads and flooded or affected numerous rural residences downstream of Columbus in both Bartholomew and northern Jackson Counties.

Flood Protection Measures

There are no Corps of Engineers flood control reservoirs upstream of Columbus, Indiana.  The City of Columbus is currently developing a flood action plan for Haw Creek.

If you have additional information that you would like to provide about the June 2008 flood at Columbus send an e-mail to:  al.shipe@noaa.gov.

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