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Top 10 Worst Floods in US History

Top 10 Worst Floods in US History

Top 10 Worst Floods in US History

Despite US dominance as a developed powerhouse, the country experiences some of the worst natural disasters in the world. Hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and tornadoes occur regularly all over the nation.  Advanced weather forecasting and satellite tracking offer warning, and evacuation orders help save lives.  Prevention is crucial to avoid greater tragedy.

Common Traits of the Worst Floods

The worst floods in US history occurred over more than a century in different parts of the country.  Still, there are commonalities in the destruction. Few of the floods were expected, and most regions lacked an adequate warning system for residents. In several cases, problems with dam stability was noted and ignored. Here are the top 10 worst flood events in US history:

1) Johnstown

On May 31, 1889, the South Fork Dam in Johnstown, Pennsylvania collapsed, leading to devastating flooding. The region had previously experienced heavy rains, which clogged the dam spillways.  There was more than $453 million in property damage, and an estimated 2209 people perished.

2) St. Francis Dam Failure

The St. Francis Dam was opened in 1926 after two years of construction. Not long after construction was complete, cracks began to form on the surface of the dam. It collapsed on March 12th, 1928, killing 431.  

3) Ohio River Flood

The 1937 flood of the Ohio River, left an estimated 350 people dead and nearly 1 Million homeless. Rains and flooding persisted for a solid month, from January 5-February 5.

4) Great Dayton Flood

The greatest natural disaster in Ohio’s history was the Great Dayton Flood, which killed 360 people,displaced 65,000 and destroyed tens of thousands of homes and businesses.

5) Great Mississippi Flood

The Great Flood of 1927, flooded the lower Mississippi River valley in April 1927.  It was one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the United States. More than 23,000 square miles of land was submerged, hundreds of thousands of people were displaced, and around 250 people died.The flooding impacted areas in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

6) Black Hills

On June 9, 1972, heavy thunderstorms caused flash flooding throughout Rapid City and the eastern foothills of the Black Hills, North Dakota. The flood destroyed homes, vehicles, businesses, bridges, and claimed the lives of 238 people.

7) Los Angeles

The Los Angeles disaster killed 144 people and left the area with repairs lasting for years.  This flood prompted the country to the plans to protect the region from the unpredictable nature of the Los Angeles River.

8) Columbus, Ohio

This flood in 1913 occurred between March 23 and March 26, after major rivers in the central and eastern United States flooded, killing 90. This flood prompted federal and local government officials to change the management of waterways and develop flood prevention measures.

9) Laurel Run Dam Failure

As early as 1943, the spillway at the Laurel Run Dam was identified as inadequate to handle a large storm. It was advised that it be upgraded. Another dam assessment in 1959 noted that the spillway wasn’t large enough. Despite these findings, no action was taken to increase the spillway capacity at the dam. In 1970, the dam was classified as a hazard risk, yet again, no action was taken. On July 20, 1977 during a torrential storm, the dam failed, killing 40.

10) Austin Dam Failure

On September 30, 1911, the Austin dam failed and destroyed much of the town of Austin. The property damage was around $10 million. It resulted in the deaths of 78 people.

Lessons Learned From the Past

The value of these disasters are the lessons learned from them. They prompted major reform in infrastructure, warning systems and accountability. Federal funding increased for public works, and disaster relief funds were established. With increased warning systems, people are better able to protect their property and themselves.  With tools such as the Water Inflated Property Protector, there are more resources to combat flood damage.

For more information about how to protect your home or business in the event of a flood, Contact Us.

Your Essential Guide to Flood Recovery

Your Essential Guide to Flood Recovery

The impact of a flood doesn’t end when waters recede. The damage left in the wake of a flood isn’t limited to homes but can impact workplaces, schools, and infrastructure. This halts normal life and can make those affected feel powerless. It’s important to have a plan to guide you through this difficult time.

The Importance of Stress Management in Flood Recovery

The devastation of a flood can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to know where to start. It’s crucial to keep your emotional wellbeing in mind.  Although it’s an incredibly stressful process, pace yourself by taking recovery one step at a time.

Get Organized

The first step in flood recovery is organization. Take inventory of everything you have, then make a list of items you still need to salvage or replace.  Prioritize items of particular value or importance, and note where they can be found in your home.  

Assess the Damage

Once it’s safe for you to survey damage to your home or workplace, be sure to bring a digital camera.  Before you remove any water or make any repairs, fully document the damage by taking photos or video. This is important to do before you make any attempts to dewater or make repairs. Even if you don’t have flood insurance, pictures are helpful and sometimes necessary when applying for government disaster assistance. Keep in mind that flood water may be contaminated by sewage or household chemicals. Wear rubber gloves and boots any time you come in contact with flood water.

Register With FEMA

When a region has been officially declared a “disaster area” by the government, property owners have access to more significant resources. This can include access to financial assistance and temporary housing. Your flood insurance company may have more information, but if you don’t have that, you can contact FEMA directly.


Mold can develop in as little as 24 hours after a flood. Once you’ve documented the damage, it’s vital to remove wet material, such as carpeting and bedding. If furniture is submerged for more than a day, those items will likely need to be disposed of.

Weigh Future Options

Deciding whether to rebuild your home or cut your losses and move is a difficult one. This dilemma weighs financial concerns, sentimental attachments, and future risk.  This is especially true for homes that are not in floodplains or previously considered to be at risk for flooding. It can help to speak with a professional about what the best options are.  

Practice Prevention

Looking towards the future, it’s important to make sure you have a plan of action for flooding. Keep all vital documents, such as birth certificates, passports and emergency cash in one location. Keeping these items secure and portable will allow you to grab them quickly in the event of an impending flood.  Learn more about flood insurance policies available to you, and consider investing in a temporary inflatable bladder dam to protect your home from flood damage.  

Hope For The Best, Plan For the Worst

Flooding can happen almost anywhere, but especially if you live in a low-lying area near a body of water, such as near a river, coastline or bayou. While no one wants to think about natural disasters, it’s important to prepare for anything.  Keeping an emergency kit with important documents, food, water, and clothing, is always a good idea. Being proactive in the face of uncertainty can give you a sense of control and reassurance to carry you through difficult times.

Contact Us to learn more about inflatable water dams for flood prevention.

Your 2018 Spring Construction Outlook

Your 2018 Spring Construction Outlook

Construction is a booming industry, with few indications that it will slow anytime soon. Although the future looks bright, it’s important to observe a cautious optimism. Accordingly, you’d do well to prepare your employees, equipment, and business for the road ahead. A bit of preparation can make a world of difference when it counts.

Spring Construction Outlook: Things to Consider

Spring is a period of growth and change. The temperatures rise and the slow pace of winter life starts to speed up. Before things get too busy, take stock of your readiness. Get organized, make plans and set goals. This will enable you to stay focused on the things that are important to you.

1) Snowmelt Flooding

When snow falls in freezing temperatures, it accumulates on the surface of the soil. Once temperatures rise and it begins to melt, water from snowmelt behaves like rain. Flooding can occur when there is more water than the soil can absorb or can be contained in nearby rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. This can happen quickly, creating a raging river where there was once a drainage ditch. Protect your construction site from snowmelt flooding with an inflatable bladder dam. This will ensure that none of your progress is compromised.

2) Tool and Equipment Inspection

Preventive maintenance is essential to the regular care and inspection of tools, equipment, machines, and vehicles. Routine inspections limit downtime and extend productivity by ensuring that everything is in working order. Keep in mind that maintenance tasks are potentially hazardous and can result in injury. Workers should be vigilant in maintaining both worksite and equipment.

3) Prepare for 2018 Hurricane Season

Are you in a hurricane zone? Engineering and construction firms should take extra care in protecting themselves from hurricanes. Construction sites are vulnerable because of incomplete structures and exposed materials that are easily damaged by water. Don’t wait to prepare for a hurricane until it’s imminent. This can be a costly mistake. Give yourself adequate time to protect the project, and have an emergency plan for worst-case scenarios.

Staying Prepared

Preparation is key to a successful spring construction outlook. Preventative maintenance and planning will make a huge positive impact on your business. An old adage says, “Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.” This is especially true in construction.

Contact Us to learn more about inflatable bladder dams for dewatering and flood protection.

Cofferdams: 3 Things to Look For in 2018

Cofferdams: 3 Things to Look For in 2018

2018 arrived in much of the Northern United States with record-breaking snowfall and precipitation.  Beyond the obvious hazards of icy and impassable roads, freezing temperatures and dangerous snowdrifts, a secondary crisis could occur as warmer weather approaches and snow begins to melt.

The Secondary Crisis

As such a massive amount of snow melts, the behavior of the water it produces can become erratic.  Gurgling creeks can become rushing rivers, destroying vegetation and structures along the way, resulting in devastating damage and irreparable erosion. To protect the stability of the region, and protection of property, both private residents, and cities alike should consider utilizing cofferdams.

1. Avoid Flood Damage.

To protect your home or business from melting snowfall flooding, an inflatable cofferdam is an economical choice.  In addition to possible structural and sentimental losses, allowing generators and electrical systems to flood can be dangerous and costly as well. Remember that it’s much cheaper to invest in preventative measures, such as cofferdams, than it is to rebuild your home or business!

2. Protect the Environment.

Cofferdams are temporary and do not result in permanent aesthetic or structural damage.  This is great not only for the value of your property but for the well being of the environment around you. Easy to set up and remove, systems like the residential WIPP system (Water Inflated Property Protector)  provide a simple solution to protect what’s yours.

3. Make Repairs.

As a measure to quickly repair property or equipment that may be under floodwaters, a cofferdam can prevent water from returning to the repair site once it’s been pumped out.  Acting as a temporary barrier, it allows workers safe and easy access to the job site and ample time for the area to recover before removal.

Come Prepared in 2018

The weather is unpredictable with far-reaching effects that can linger for a long time.  It’s more important than ever to utilize the tools available to you in the event of a natural disaster.  Looking ahead, the value and importance of inflatable cofferdams and related products in construction will only increase.

Contact Us to learn more about inflatable cofferdams and other dewatering and flood protection solutions.

2017-2018 Winter Weather Predictions for the US

2017-2018 Winter Weather Predictions for the US

November is almost upon us again and that means winter weather is on its way. The general forecast for this winter is much colder than our previous winter but no colder than usual. Much of the northern US will see milder than normal temperatures while most of the South and West will be a bit cooler than normal.  

Winter Weather Predictions for November 2017 through March 2018

It’s good to be prepared for the coming winter season. Whether in construction, oil pipeline work, or in your personal life, it’s good to have an idea of what to expect.

Cold and Snowy Winter for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic

Winter this year for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic is expected to be quite a bit colder than last winter, but not any colder than usual. Temperatures in the northern US are expected to be milder than average while the south and west will be mostly cooler. The precipitation levels will be above normal. Snowfall in portions of the Northeast, Intermountain region, central Plains, central Great Lakes, and eastern Tennessee to New Mexico are expected to be above normal yielding a good ski season for the Northeast.

Frigid and Dry for the Northern Plains

The Northern Plains will experience regular sub-zero levels, at times plummeting as low as -30 degrees F in the Dakotas. The recent drought trend in this region is expected to continue. States in this region will experience significantly less snowfall and overall drier conditions.

Both Dry and Cold in the Upper Midwest

Ranging eastward into the Midwest the weather is expected to remain both dry and cold. The eastern Corn Belt should experience more snow and ice than normal.

Severe in the Southeast, Tennessee Valley

Florida and Georgia will experience above normal temperatures, while Florida will be mostly dry. The Tennessee Valley into northeast Texas will see colder weather and some ice storms with increased tornado activity in February.

Snowfall in Northwest, Rockies

The Northwest and Rockies will receive abundant precipitation. La Niña is expected to be weak this year, so winter storms in the north are expected to be mild. However, snowfall is expected to be above normal.

Temperatures Up and Down for the Southern Plains

Some areas, such as Southwest Texas, will experience above normal temperatures while others will enjoy cooler temperatures. Expect freezes in late January along with dry periods and stormy weather. Storms expected in Northwest and Southwest Texas, but not more than normal.

Mildly Snowy and Wet in California, the Southwest

Central and northern California expected to be mildly snowy and wet. The Southwest is expected to see temperatures in the 90’s in early 2018.

El Niño Unlikely

There are currently no active patterns for El Niño or La Niña for this winter. This typically means we can expect neutral conditions in the Northern Hemisphere.

Snowmelt Flooding: Winter’s Last Hazard

If you’re in an area with typically heavy snowfall, as the temperatures begin to rise again a common dangerous occurrence is snowmelt flooding. As the snow melts, the ground is too saturated to absorb any more and it begins to run back to the streams, rivers, and lakes. However, the excess water causes flooding. Protect your property and job sites now by investing in an inflatable bladder dam.

Preparing for Winter

Whether your personal property or construction job sites, it’s important to take measures to prepare for the winter weather. Use this guide to this year’s winter weather predictions to get started. Be safe and keep warm.

To learn more about protecting your property and job site with inflatable bladder dams, Contact Us.

5 Worst Winter Storms in US History

5 Worst Winter Storms in US History

The freezing temperatures, ice, and heavy snow of winter can cause serious damage. Winter storms bring power and water loss, make transportation near impossible, and cause fatalities. Recovery from these storms is often long and costly.

Some of the Costliest Winter Storms in the Country

Every winter brings ice and snow that makes transportation difficult and causes serious hazards in some parts of the country. Loss of power and damage to property is common. The following 5 storms were the costliest winter storms in US history.

1) Great Blizzard of 1993

On March 11th through March 14th of 1993, 26 US states experienced the “Storm of the Century.” This blizzard affected 40% of the US population with 270 fatalities and millions who lost power. Eventually, all major airports on the East Coast closed down. Four feet of snow was reported in some areas. This devastating blizzard cost the US over $8 billion in losses.

2) The Great Nor’easter of 1992

From December 10th through the 13th this great snowstorm settled over the northeastern United States. States of emergency were declared in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. There were 19 fatalities and over $5 billion in losses.

3) Southern Ice Storm of February 1994

This ice storm covered the south from Texas to Virginia in February of 1994, affecting many parts for weeks. 750,000 in Mississippi alone had no electricity or water for several days. This monstrous storm cost over $4.75 billion in damages.

4) Winter Storm and Cold Outbreak of January 2014

January 5th through the 8th of 2014 brought “The Polar Vortex” to the Mid-Atlantic states with wind chills as low as -60 degrees Fahrenheit for several months. The heavy snow and record low temperatures in countless Mid-Atlantic communities brought 20 fatalities and cost almost $2.5 billion in damages.

5) Deep Freeze of December 1983

“The Bone Chiller” brought heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures in more than 12 states from December 17th to the 30th. The sudden cold of this devastating storm brought 500 fatalities and cost $2.36 billion in damages.

Snowmelt Flooding: The Other Winter Danger to Consider

Freezing temperatures, ice, and heavy snowfall create enough potential hazards for the winter season as it is. However, there is one other winter danger you can’t afford to overlook. As the temperatures begin to warm again and all the snow is melting, the ground is typically saturated already and can’t absorb the added moisture. The melted snow drains back to streams, rivers, and lakes, however the excess causes serious flooding. Protect your property and job sites now with an inflatable bladder dam.  

Learn More

Winter is a hard season for construction in many parts of the country. Ice, snow, and winter storms cause construction delays and damage to project sites and equipment. Once the temperatures start to warm up, snowmelt flooding is another serious threat to property, life, and projects. Be prepared this winter and stay safe.

To learn more about protecting your property and job sites with an inflatable bladder dam, Contact Us.