Historical Floods in the Northeast
(Courtesy of NWS, Northeast River Forecast Center, Taunton, MA)

The following pages do not attempt to document every single flood that has ever occurred in the northeast United States. However, it does provide a broad overview of most of the record breaking flooding that has occurred. In addition, it becomes apparent upon review, in this part of the country not all flooding is alike. Flooding can occur at any time of year, and can result from many different types of meteorological events. In general, a single large rainfall event may be sufficient to cause minor to moderate flooding. However, the largest floods in the northeast have generally been caused by two large storms falling in a 7-day period. It should also be remembered that all 6-inch rainstorms are not equal. A six-inch rain in April, accompanied by snowmelt and wet soil conditions will have a much larger impact on the rivers than a 6-inch rain in August when soil conditions are normally much dryer and the vegetative cover consumes a large portion of the precipitation. In addition, following the disastrous floods in the early part of this century, a large number of flood control projects have been developed by the US Army Corps of Engineers. These have successfully reduced many flood peaks. However, the entire area obviously cannot be controlled and more floods are sure to come.

November 1927
A late season tropical system produced record flooding in Vermont.

March 1936
Heavy rain and melting snow caused major flooding throughout the Northeast and Middle Atlantic states.

September 1938
Widespread rainfall caused by a hurricane resulted in major flooding throughout the Connecticut, Thames, and Merrimack River valleys.

August 1955
Hurricanes Connie and Diane came a week apart to batter most of New England with the most significant flooding recorded at many locations.

March 1968
Heavy rain combined with snowmelt caused small river flooding in southeast New England.

June 1982
Up to 16 inches of rainfall resulted in major flooding throughout Connecticut.

June 1984
Up to 10 inches of rainfall over Memorial Day weekend produced major flood on mainstem rivers since flood of September 1938.

March/April 1987
Heavy rains combined with snowmelt resulted in major flooding throughout New England.

October 2005
Up to 15 inches of rainfall over a 10-day period produced flash-flooding throughout Southern New England.

May 2006 (Mother's Day Flood)
Up to 16 inches of rainfall over a 4-day period produced historic flooding in the Merrimack River Basin.

August 2011
Hurricane Irene brought tidal surges and 6 to 12 inches of rainfall, causing flooding throughout much of New England.

October 2012
The extreme tidal surges and high winds of Superstorm Sandy caused widespread coastal flooding.