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Flooding in Indiana

On this page you learn what types of flooding are typical in the Indiana and how do you protect yourself, your family and your home. You will also find out more about the significant Indiana floods. Finally, you'll find links to NWS offices that provide forecast and safety information for Indiana, as well as links to our partners who play a significant role in keeping you safe.

Flood Safety Home Page Turn Around Don't Drown Flood Safety Awareness Week Interactive Flood Map Types of flodding and associated risks NWS flood products forecasts and observations (AHPS) education and outreach partner agencies Flooding Navigation bar, hover for links Flood Safety Home Page Turn Around Don't Drown Flood Safety Awareness Week Interactive Flood Map Types of flodding and associated risks NWS flood products forecasts and observations (AHPS) education and outreach partner agencies Flood Safety Home Page Turn Around Don't Drown Flood Safety Awareness Week Interactive Flood Map Types of flodding and associated risks NWS flood products forecasts and observations (AHPS) education and outreach partner agencies Harding Street in Indianapolis, Indiana as the water started to recede on march 27, 1913. Courtesy Engineering News Volume 69.  Shows wate up several feet above door level of houses Flood Safety Home Page Turn Around Don't Drown Flood Safety Awareness Week Interactive Flood Map Types of flodding and associated risks NWS flood products forecasts and observations (AHPS) education and outreach partner agencies
 
Significant Indiana Floods
  • The Great Easter Flood of 1913

    This flood remains the worst flood for many locations in Indiana except the northwestpart of the state. Some 7 percent of Indiana's population was left homeless. More than 100 people perished. Most the of the state’s infrastructure was left in ruins including railroads, roads, telegraph, telephone and power, mainly in towns and cities as most rural areas did not have electric in 1913. Numerous towns were cut off for the outside world for several days. Flood damage was in the billions in 2013 dollars.

    Harding Street in Indianapolis, Indiana as the water started to recede on march 27, 1913. Courtesy Engineering News Volume 69.  Shows wate up several feet above door level of houses
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  • The Great Ohio River Flood of January 1937

    This flood is the greatest flood of record for Indiana communities along the Ohio River. The area most affected was central and south Indiana. This was a long duration flood in southern Indiana with water remaining at near-crest levels for 7 to more than 10 days. As the main crest on the Ohio River passed the Wabash River, the effects of backwater were seen at New Harmony and possible as far north as where I-64 is now located. Residents left homeless were sheltered in points north of the Ohio River.



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  • January 2005 Flood

    Indiana had never experienced three natural disasters in 4 weeks during modern times. From December 22, 2004, through January 19, 2005, the state was struck by an epic snow storm in southern Indiana with up to 30 inches of snow, closing portions of four interstates, followed by a major ice storm immediately north of the Indianapolis area and a great flood. Hundreds of motorist were stranded, more than 180,000 customers lost power and hundreds more were affected by flood waters. Major flood resulted along the White, East Fork White and Wabash Rivers in southern Indiana. At the time, flood levels like this had not been seen in 40, 50 or more than 90 years.

    Merom Bluff under water

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  • The June 2008 Flood

    Indiana experienced six major floods from January 2008 through March 2009 in various locations in the state. The greatest and most destructive flood was the June 2008 flood. The city of Columbus was completely isolated by flood water for almost a day. Flood waters affected over 25,000 people and claimed four lives. This flood was the Indiana's largest agricultural disasters, affecting 9 percent of the farmland. Flood damage exceeded $1 billion.

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  • Northern Indiana Floods of March 1982

    During the winter of 1981-1983, the snowpack of northern Indiana contained a record of 3 to 7 inches of liquid water in the form of ice and snow. In March 1982, the combination of rapid melting and one-half to more than an inch of rainfall caused near record flooding in northern Indiana and extensive flooding in other portions of Indiana. Fort Wayne received national attention when an heroic sandbagging effort saved downtown Fort Wayne. More than 10,000 people were forced to leave their homes. Flood damage was more than $50 million in 1982 dollars. Sandbagging prevented more than $30 million in damages in 1982 dollars.

    Road completely submerged

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Flood Hazard Information
  • Flash Flooding

    Flash flooding is a rapid and extreme flow of high water into a normally dry area, or a rapid water level rise in a stream or creek above a predetermined flood level, beginning within six hours of the causative event (i.e., intense rainfall, dam failure, ice jam). More information...

  • River Flooding

    River flooding occurs when river levels rise and overflow their banks or the edges of their main channel and inundate areas that are normally dry. More information...
  • Burn Scars/Debris Flows

    Wildfires burn away the vegetation of an area, leaving behind bare ground that tends to repel water. When rain falls, it runs off a burn scar towards a low lying area, sometimes carrying branches, soil and other debris along with it. Without vegetation to hold the soil in place, flooding can produce mud and debris flows. More information...
  • Ice/Debris Jams

    A back-up of water into surrounding areas can occur when a river or stream is blocked by a build-up of ice or other debris. Debris Jam: A back-up of water into surrounding areas can occur when a river or stream is blocked by a build-up of debris. More information...
  • Snowmelt

    Flooding due to snowmelt most often occurs in the spring when rapidly warming temperatures quickly melt the snow. The water runs off the already saturated ground into nearby streams and rivers, causing them to rapidly rise and, in some cases, overflow their banks.More information...
  • Dam Breaks/Levee Failure

    A break or failure can occur with little to no warning. Most often they are caused by water overtopping the structure, excessive seepage through the surrounding ground, or a structural failure. More information...
Protect Life and Property NWS Forecast Offices and River Forecast Centers (RFC) Covering Indiana