Skip to comments.THE FLOODS OF JULY, 1916
Posted on 09/16/2004 2:32:58 PM PDT by boothead
THE FLOODS OF 1916
The lines of Southern Railway Company suffered unprecedented damage from floods during the months of July and August, 1916.
On July 5th and 6th a tropical cyclone swept over the Gulf Coast of Alabama, accompanied by high winds, reaching a maximum of 107 miles per hour at Mobile on the fifth, and followed by torrential rains over a large part of the State, with somewhat lighter rains in eastern Tennessee and the Carolinas, greatly damaging Southern Railway waterfront property at Mobile and interrupting traffic on the Companys lines in Alabama south and west if Birmingham, by washing out trestles and fills.
A second tropical cyclone passed over Charleston, S. C., during the morning of July 14th, causing some local damage, and, moving northwestward, expended its full force on the watersheds in western North Carolina where the rain from the first storm had already saturated the soil and filled the streams bank-full. All previous 24 hour records of rainfall in the United States were exceeded. The run-off from the saturated soil was very rapid, streams rose high above all previous flood records; resulting in the death of about eighty persons and in property damage estimated by the United States Weather Bureau at about twenty-two million dollars.
The greatest single loss of property was that of Southern Railway Company, as, without taking into account the loss of traffic and the cost of detouring trains, the total loss to the Company on account of storm damage during the month of July is estimated at approximately $1,250,000
Beginning during the afternoon of the 15th and continuing for 24 hours, the rains in the mountain districts of North Carolina were extraordinarily heavy. At a special orchard station maintained at Altapass, in the southeastern corner of Mitchell County, N.C. (altitude 2,625 feet above mean sea level), an actual measurement of 19.32 inches of rain in 24 hours was recorded in an 8-inch standard raingage. The measurement was made at 6 p.m., July 16th, 1916. According to the observer, Mr. J. S. Bowen, between 2 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, 16th, the rainfall here amounted to 19.31 inches as measured on the 16th, and about 2.90 inches of the rainfall measured on the afternoon of the 15th fell after 2 p.m., of that day, hence the 24-hour rainfall, 2 p.m. 15th until 2 p.m. 16th, was about 22.22 inches.
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