List of floods

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A flood is an overflow of water that submerges land that is usually dry. In the sense of "flowing water", the word may also be applied to the inflow of the tide. Floods are an area of study of the discipline hydrology and are of significant concern in agriculture, civil engineering and public health.

List of notable floods[edit]

12th century BC[edit]

14th century[edit]

15th century[edit]

16th century[edit]

17th century[edit]

Contemporary picture of the flood that struck the North Sea coast of Germany and Denmark in October 1634
  • The California Flood of 1605 was caused by heavy rains and covered many parts of California in water.[1]
  • The Burchardi Flood was a storm tide that struck the North Sea coast of North Frisia and Dithmarschen on the night between 11 and 12 October 1634. Overrunning dikes, it shattered the coastline and caused thousands of deaths (8,000 to 15,000 people drowned).

18th century[edit]

The Christmas flood of 1717
  • Christmas Flood of 1717. Flood in Netherlands, Germany, and Scandinavia. 14,000 drowned.
  • Mississippi River Flood of December 1734 to June 1735. New Orleans was inundated by the flooding.
  • New Hampshire Flood of 1740. The Merrimack River flooded in December. It is the first recorded flood in New Hampshire history.
  • New Hampshire/Maine Flood of October 1785. In New Hampshire, a significant flood struck the Cocheco, Baker, Pemigewasset, Contoocook and Merrimack rivers on 23 October which established records at Lowell which held until 1902.[2] The Androscoggin River flooded significantly, which destroyed many homesteads in what would become Bethel, Maine. Those that survived the flood moved uphill into less valuable, 100-acre (0.40 km2) plots. Turner's first mill was destroyed during this inundation.
  • Great Pumpkin Flood of October 1786. Central Pennsylvania flood. Received its name due to the pumpkins that were washed away in the flood on 5 October. It was a major flood in the Susquehanna River basin.
  • Mississippi River Flood of July 1788. Severe flooding of the Mississippi River resulted from a hurricane landfall
  • Storofsen, Norway, flood of July 1789
  • Red River of the South flood of 1800. According to the Caddo tribe, a "great flood" moved down the river and reinforced the "Great Log Raft" on the river. This raft was a natural dam that increased water levels on some of the Red River tributaries. This process formed Caddo Lake.[citation needed]

19th century[edit]

Floods in Saint Petersburg on 19 November 1824
  • Mississippi River Flood of 1809. All of the lower Mississippi River was inundated by flooding.
  • Mississippi River Flood of 1825. The flood of 1825 is the last known inundation of New Orleans due to spring flooding
  • Great Mississippi River Flood of 1844. The largest flood ever recorded on the Missouri River and Upper Mississippi River in terms of discharge. This flood was particularly devastating since the region had few if any levees at the time. Among the hardest hit were the Wyandot who lost 100 people in the diseases that occurred after the flood. The flood also is the highest recorded for the Mississippi River at St. Louis. After the flood, Congress in 1849 passed the Swamp Act providing land grants to build stronger levees.
  • Great Mississippi River Flood of 1851. The flood occurred after record-setting rainfalls across the U.S. Midwest and Plains from May to August 1851. The State of Iowa experienced significant flooding extending to the Lower Mississippi River basin. Historical evidence suggest flooding occurred in the eastern Plains, from Nebraska to the Red River basin, but these areas were sparsely settled in 1851. Heavy rainfall also occurred in the Ohio River basin. In June, major flooding on the Mississippi River was experienced.
    Great Flood of 1862
  • The Great Flood of 1862. Struck the west coast of North America in December 1861 and January 1862. An atmospheric river from the tropics brought 43 days of rain to the U.S. states of California, Utah and Oregon as well as the Mexican state of Sonora. It was the worst disaster ever to strike California; the state's Central Valley was effectively an inland sea for months afterwards. State government temporarily moved to San Francisco because the capital, Sacramento, was under 10 feet (3.3 m) of water; the damage and the ensuing shortfall in tax revenues nearly bankrupted the state.
  • The 1872 Baltic Sea flood. Storm surge that affected the Baltic Sea coast from Denmark to Pomerania on the night of 12–13 November 1872. The flood cost the lives of at least 271 people on the Baltic Sea coast; 2,850 houses were destroyed or at least badly damaged and 15,160 people left homeless as a result.
  • Great Mississippi River Flood of 1874. Heavy spring rains caused the Mississippi River to overflow, breaching levees and flooding enormous swathes of the Lower Mississippi Valley. The flooding began in February and only began to recede on 20 May. According to the New Orleans Daily Picayune of 3 May, thirty-one of Louisiana's fifty-three parishes (home to some 375,000 people) were entirely or partially underwater. The Picayune also reported that breaches at Hushpakana[sic.] and Bolivar, Mississippi, had "transformed the Yazoo Valley into an inland lake."[3] Mayor Louis A. Wiltz of New Orleans published a circular on 30 May addressed to "the Mayors of thirty-four large American cities" seeking contributions of cash and provisions for relief efforts. In the circular, the Flood of 1874 was described as the highest on record. It also included the observations of former U.S. Surveyor General for Louisiana William J. McCulloh, who estimated that a total of 12,565,060 acres had been flooded across Louisiana (8,065,000), Mississippi (2,500,000), and Arkansas (2,000,000).
  • Mississippi River Flood of 1882. Intense spring rain storms, beginning on 19 February 1882, led to a rapid rise of the Ohio River and flooding along the river from Cincinnati to St. Louis. The effects were much more devastating in the Lower Mississippi Valley, with an estimated 20,000 people made homeless in Arkansas alone. Such was the devastation that, in its wake, Southern Democrats and Midwestern Republicans in Congress hailing from those states afflicted by the flooding made common cause to increase appropriations for the Rivers and Harbor Act to $19 million, $5.4 million of which was earmarked for internal improvements and federal aid to the flooded areas. While not opposed to internal improvements on principle, President Chester A. Arthur nonetheless vetoed the Act on 1 August 1882. Congress overrode his veto the following day.
  • In 1889, the South Fork Dam broke, causing the massive Johnstown Flood of 1889 that took 2,209 lives in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
  • On 8 September 1900, in Galveston, Texas, a storm made landfall, leaving about 7,000 to 12,000 dead. It remains to the present day the deadliest single-day event in US history.[4]

20th Century[edit]


1910 Great Flood of Paris
  • In January 1910, large areas of Paris were flooded when the river burst its banks.
  • In June 1910 heavy rains caused extreme flooding throughout central Europe killing more than 1200 people.
  • The Great Flood of 1913, which included the Great Dayton Flood, killed 650 people and destroyed 20,000 homes in the United States. It also damaged historic photographic plates belonging to Wilbur and Orville Wright. It ended canal transportation in Ohio.
  • The 1916 Clermont, Queensland flood was the worst flood in Clermont history.
  • The Hatfield Flood of San Diego, United States, of 1916 destroyed the Lower Otay Dam,[5] damaged the Sweetwater Dam,[6] and caused 22 deaths and $4.5 million in damages.



  • The 1931 Yellow River flood caused between 800,000 and 4,000,000 deaths in China, one of a series of disastrous floods on the Yellow River. It was one of the worst floods in history.
  • The Ohio River flood of 1937 occurred in late January and February 1937, causing damage along the Ohio River and several smaller tributaries from Pittsburgh, Illinois, to Cairo, Illinois. This flood left close to one million people homeless, 385 dead, and $50,000,000 worth of damage.
  • The Los Angeles flood of 1938 occurred from late February to early March 1938, causing the Los Angeles River and the Santa Ana River to overflow, causing $40,000,000 worth of damage and causing 115 lives to be lost.
  • The 1938 Hanshin flood occurred in July 1938 in Kobe area in Japan, causing 925 lost lives as exceptionally heavy seasonal raining caused landslides at Rokko mountains.





  • On the night of 9 June 1972 the people of Rapid City, South Dakota in the United States were struck by a deadly flood that lasted two days. It took 238 lives and caused millions of dollars in damage.
  • On Luzon island in the Philippines, the "Great Luzon Flood" of 1972 was triggered by a series of storms during the 1972 Pacific typhoon season, namely Susan (locally named Edong), Rita (Gloring), Tropical Depression Huaning, Tropical Storm Winnie (Isang), and Tropical Depression Konsing. More than thirty days of constant rain over central Luzon left 565 dead (485 of whom had drowned), directly affected 5.5 million people, and left 2 Billion Philippine Pesos (unadjusted) in damage.[9]
  • In 1974, the dying cyclone Wanda triggered major flooding in Brisbane, Australia killing 6 people and leaving hundreds homeless.
  • On 2 July 1975, many areas of Romanian Cuverture Charpatinas (e.g. Buzau, Prahova County), were struck by major flooding.
  • In August 1975, the Banqiao Dam in China breaks apart under excess rainfall and damage from Typhoon Nina, drowning about 26,000 and caused the lives of another 140,000 in resulting epidemics.
  • On July 31, 1976, a nearly stationary thunderstorm caused a major flash flood in the infamous Big Thompson River Canyon, claiming 139 lives. This occurred on the eve of Colorado's centennial.


  • During the 1980s, the Great Salt Lake reached record high water levels due to a large amount of rain and its lack of an outlet. Places such as Saltair were inundated.
  • The South African town of Laingsburg was basically destroyed on 25 January 1981, when 104 of its 900 inhabitants died during a flood that swept through the town and left only about 25 houses standing
  • On August 1982, Ulaanbaatar experienced a major flood that swept most of the houses for a few hours due to heavy rain, leaving 187 citizens dying.
  • In 1982, the river Jucar in Spain breaks the Tous Reservoir, flooding the surrounding land in a deluge of 16,000 m3/s of water, and killing 30 people.
  • In the winter of 1983, the Pacific Northwest of the United States saw one of the worst floods on record for that region, and some states recorded their wettest winter ever. Damage estimates are as high as $1.1 billion.
  • Bangladesh floods


  • January 1992 saw severe floods in South America, most notably Brazil.
  • In Alaska, United States, from May to September 1992 it was unusually wet, causing the 100 year flood. Snow melt only made the floods worse.
  • The Great Flood of 1993 was one of the most destructive floods in United States history.
  • March 1993 the "No Name" storm, silently brought major flooding to Citrus County, Florida.
  • The summer of 1993 was unusually wet for the United States, causing flooding in the southwest.
  • The 1993 India floods killed more than a thousand people in Northern India, and more than 1800 people in Nepal, with fewer casualties in Bangladesh and Pakistan.[10][11][12]
  • 1994 South Georgina floods
  • On 8 May 1995, severe floods caused extensive damage in Louisiana, United States.
  • 1994-August, Massive Flood in Surat and burst of pneumonic plague
  • 1996 Pacific Northwest floods
  • A dying typhoon hit Kyushu, Japan, in September 1996, causing severe floods in that region.
  • July 1996 saw severe floods in Central Honshū, Japan.
  • In August 1996, 86 people died due to a flood in Las Nieves camping, in Biescas, Spain.[13][14]
  • 1997 Central European flood, the worst flood in Polish history hits the country in July 1997, killing 65 and causing extensive damage to Wroclaw and Opole.
  • The Red River Flood of 1997 (also called the Red River of the North Flood of 1997 in the United States) occurred in April and May 1997 along the Red River of the North in North Dakota, Minnesota (United States) and Manitoba. It was the most severe flooding of the river since 1826, with floodwaters peaking at 54 feet in Grand Forks, and reaching as far as 3 miles from the river in Southern Manitoba.
  • Bangladesh was flooded in 1998, with millions of people affected and hundreds killed.
  • The 1999 Pentecost flood (German: Pfingsthochwasser) was a 100-year flood around the Pentecost season in 1999 that mostly affected Bavaria, Vorarlberg and Tirol. It was caused by heavy rainfall coinciding with the regular Alpine meltwater. These were caused because of the low-lying area and they are replacing concrete with soil which affects the flow of water and can cause flash flooding.
  • The 2000 Mozambique flood, caused by heavy rains followed by a cyclone, covered much of the country for three weeks, killing thousands, leaving the country devastated for years afterwards.

21st century[edit]


View of flooded New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
  • From April 19 to 21 of 2006, a large part of Namibia's coast was hit by floods.[18][19]
  • Korea (both North Korea and South Korea) saw one of its worst floods ever in May 2006.
  • The Mid-Atlantic States flood of 2006 in the eastern United States is considered to be the worst in that region since the flooding caused by Hurricane David in 1979.
  • Ethiopia saw one of its worst floods ever in August 2006.
  • Surat, a city of 5 million people in India, witnessed the largest flood in its history during 4 to 10 August 2006. Water discharged for 30 hours from Ukai dam, which flooded the city.
  • Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, and Sabah suffered floods between December 2006 and January 2007. It killed hundreds and forced 100,000 people to be evacuated in Johor alone. Floods hit the country's capital Kuala Lumpur in January 2007, killing 80. It was the worst flood in Malaysia for over 100 years.
  • The 2007 Hunter Floods inundated large areas of the cities of Maitland and Newcastle in Australia in June 2007, claimed 11 lives and forced the evacuation of 4,000 people in Central Maitland.
  • Between late May 2007 and early August 2007, severe flash floods hit most of the United Kingdom, with the most affected area in the country being Yorkshire. The city of Sheffield (in Yorkshire) was the worst affected city in the country, a month's worth of rain fell on the city in just 18 hours on 25 June 2007, bursting the banks of the River Don in that city. There were also fears that the Ulley Reservoir in Sheffield would fail, if it did it would have killed hundreds. 6 people were killed across the country.
  • The 2007 Africa Floods was one of the worst and most destructive floods in recorded history on the continent of Africa with 14 countries affected.
  • In November 2007, Cyclone Guba, a slow moving storm caused deadly flooding in Papua New Guinea.
  • The 2008 Indian floods affected several states in India between July 2008 and September 2008 during an unusually wet monsoon season. The floods caused severe damage, and killed an estimated 2404 people.


  • In July 2012, heavy torrential rains caused floods in Kyushu, Japan, leaving 32 people dead or missing.
  • In 2012 Great Britain and Ireland floods caused many floods in the United Kingdom, in April floods and gales hit most of England causing flooding and power outages, on 28 June 2012 there were two severe supercell thunderstorms which traveled across the West Midlands causing flash flooding, on 6 July 2012 heavy rainfall brought floods to the South West of England with the Met Office issuing red rain warnings, flooding later returned to the UK on 23 November 2012, as heavy persistent rainfall fell in South West England which caused rivers to burst their banks, the rain later pushed into the Midlands overnight causing more flooding, on 26 November 2012 another band of rain pushed into South West England, The Environment Agency issued three severe flood warnings for the South West England and 90 flood warnings, the following day the Environment Agency issued 110 flood warning for the Midlands, most of which were for the River Avon and the River Severn.

Floods by region[edit]



East Asia[edit]

Fighting the 1954 Yangtze Flood, as depicted on a monument in Wuhan
Hong Kong, China[edit]
Picture show at heavy rain, following flood in Shira River, Kumamoto, Kyushu, July 2012
  • 2021 August Japan floods[citation needed]
  • In July 2012, heavy torrential rains caused floods in Kyushu, Japan, leaving 32 people dead or missing. Later in August incessant rains and storm caused floods in Kinki region, causing one casualty.
  • In July 1996 a flood hit Central Honshū and 48 people died.
  • On 21 September 1996, a typhoon hit Kyushu causing flooding along the coasts as huge waves crashed onshore and flooding onshore when the typhoon dumped much rain on the area.
  • In 1953, the 1953 North Kyushu Flood killed 759 people and the killed and missing amounted to 1,001 in the northern area of Kyushu of Japan.
  • The 1938 Hanshin flood occurred in July 1938 in Kobe area in Japan, causing 925 lost lives as exceptionally heavy torrential raining caused landslides at Rokko mountain.
  • 2018 Japan floods
North Korea[edit]
  • North Korea saw one of its worst floods ever in May 2006.
South Korea[edit]

South Asia[edit]

  • Bangladesh has been victim of numerous floods throughout the years, the major ones being in 1954, 1955, 1970, 1985, 1988, 1998, 2004, 2007 and 2012.
  • Assam has been suffering floods regularly since 1998.
  • Flooding in Mumbai in July 2005 left over 700 dead. Some areas went under 5 m of water.
  • The 2008 Indian floods affected most of India throughout 2008.
  • In October 2009, flooding occurred across many parts of South India. It was one of the worst floods in the area in the last 100 years, killing at least 299 people and making 500,000 homeless.
  • The Leh floods occurred on 6 August 2010 in Leh, the largest town in Ladakh, a region of the northernmost Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. At least 193 people are reported to have died, five of whom were foreign tourists, after a cloudburst and heavy overnight rains triggered flash floods and mudslides. A further 200 people were reported missing and thousands more were rendered homeless after the flooding caused extensive damage to property and infrastructure.
  • The 2013 North India floods in Uttarakhand which destroyed many things and landslides caused by heavy rainfall.
  • The 2014 South India floods in Visakhapatnam which destroyed many things and landslides caused by heavy rainfall and thousands more were rendered homeless after the flooding caused extensive damage to property and infrastructure.[clarification needed]
  • The 2015 South India Floods in Chennai due to the heavy rain fall of northeast monsoons in 2015 is considered one of the major disasters in the state of Tamil Nadu. It occurred from November end till the mid of second week of December.
  • 2017 Gujarat flood
  • 2017 South Asian floods
  • 2018 Kerala floods
  • 2020 South Asian floods
  • 2021 Uttarakhand flood
  • 2021 Maharashtra floods
  • 2022 India–Bangladesh floods
  • 2022 Balrampur floods
  • 2023 North India floods
  • In 2003, Sindh province was badly affected due to monsoon rains causing damages in billions of places.
  • In 2007, Cyclone Yemyin submerged lower part of Balochistan Province in sea water killing 380 people. Before that it killed 213 people in Karachi on its way to Balochistan.
  • In 2009, Karachi was flooded. (see 2009 Karachi floods)
  • In 2010, from mid-July till mid-August – Pakistan's four provinces (Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Southern Punjab and Sindh) were badly affected during the monsoon rains when dams, rivers and lakes overflowed, killing at least 1,750 people, injuring 2,500 and affecting 23 million people. The flood is considered the worst in Pakistan's history, affecting people of all four provinces and Asad Jamu and Kashmir Region of Pakistan.[57] (see 2010 Pakistan floods)
  • The 2013 Afghanistan–Pakistan floods.
  • In 2022 Pakistan suffered the worst flood in the country's history.

Southeast Asia[edit]

  • The 2010 Thailand floods.
  • 2011 Thailand floods started from July 2011 until January 2012 resulted in a total of 815 deaths, 13.6 million people affected, 65 provinces were declared flood disaster zones, over 20,000 square kilometers of farmland was damaged and 7 industrial estates was temporarily shut down causing over US$45.7 billion (1.4 trillion Baht) of over all damage.[63]


Czech Republic[edit]


  • One of France's worst floods of the 20th century occurred in 1910. The end of 1909 and early 1910 saw a period of heavy rain and snow fall over a period of 3 months. The level of the Seine began to rise rapidly from 18 to 20 January, rising to a maximum of 8.62 meters above normal on the 28th. Some 4 billion cubic meters of river water, contaminated with river sediment and municipal sewage, flooded over 5 square kilometers of Paris. There were over 150,000 casualties and over 20,000 buildings flooded.[66]






  • In February 2010, severe floods and mudslides hit the Portuguese island of Madeira, killing at least 50.[68]


  • 13–14 October 1957, in Valencia, torrential rain results in a devastating flood, at least 81 people lose their lives.[69]
  • In 1982, the river Jucar (Valencia, Spain) broke the Tous Reservoir causing a flood that killed 30 people.[70]

United Kingdom[edit]

  • 2002 Glasgow floods – 200 people immediately evacuated, but the water supply of 140 thousand people was affected.
  • December 2015 – Flooding of Conwy River.
Llanrwst from the air during December 2015 flooding.

North America[edit]


United States[edit]



On the left is a photo taken during the 1998 floods in Swifts Creek in Australia. On the right is the same location 8 years later


New Zealand[edit]

  • The 1858 Hutt River flood kills 14 people
  • The 1878 of the Clutha River
  • The 1897 flooding at Clive in Hawke's Bay kills 12 people
  • The 1929 New Zealand cyclone caused severe flooding in the city of Dunedin
  • In 1938, a flash-flood at a railway workers' camp at Kopuawhara kills 21 people
  • The 1978 flood of the Clutha River, known as the "Hundred years flood" hit one day before the 100th anniversary of the great flood of 1878
  • The 1984 Southland flood
  • In 1988, extensive flooding is caused in several parts of the North Island due to Cyclone Bola
  • The 2004 Manawatu flood inundated the town of Feilding

Solomon Islands[edit]

Papua New Guinea[edit]

South America[edit]





Deadliest floods by year[edit]

21st century[edit]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ NH floods. Archived August 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 2007-05-05.
  3. ^ "The Inundation: Its Extent and its Consequences". The Daily Picayune. 3 May 1874.
  4. ^ Moellman, Mark (29 June 2017). "Seven Worst Floods in US History".
  5. ^ Fetzer, Leland (2005). San Diego County Place Names A to Z. San Diego: Sunbelt Publications. p. 107. Lower Otay Dam washed out completely in the 1916 Hatfield flood.
  6. ^ Fetzer, Leland (2005). San Diego County Place Names A to Z. San Diego: Sunbelt Publications. p. 144. Sweetwater Dam was damaged in the 1916 Hatfield Flood but did not fail.
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External links[edit]