Thursday, March 17, 2011

Anniversary of Devastating Flood

75 years ago today the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers spilled over their banks thanks to melting snow and rainfall inundating Pittsburgh with flood waters. It was the St. Patrick's Day Flood of 1936 and the Point was 21 feet underwater. 135,000 people were left homeless and the National Guard patrolled the area which was under martial law. Water levels receded 3 days later leaving what would amount to $3 billion in damage in today's valuation. Shortly thereafter, Congress approved the Flood Control Act of 1936 which led to the construction of 16 upstream reservoirs in the Pittsburgh region to catch the extra water. Werner Loehlein, chief of water management with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says today's floods are not nearly as devastating....
"As recently as January 1996, the upstream reservoirs reduced the crest by 10 feet which would have made it just below the 1936 flood level had we not had any reservoirs."
The St. Patrick's Day Flood killed 45 people in the city and 150 in the Pittsburgh region.

No comments: