Kansas March 29, 2019
The One Giant Flood In Kansas We Could Never Forget
Kansas has had its share of crazy weather events, from ice storms to tornadoes and everything in between. Do you remember the 1951 flood in Kansas? It’s been almost 70 years since this eventful time in Kansas history, but we’ll remember it forever. Let’s take a look back on how it affected our state.
In late June and into July, northeast Kansas was hit with more water than it could handle and local rivers started flooding.
Water kept rising as rainfall kept falling, and the rivers were simply overwhelmed. July 13th was known as the day of the most flood destruction in the Midwest to that date. Bridges were broken in pieces, and trains fell into the waters after tumbling off the tracks.
Flood water is not regular river water, it's often polluted with oil, sewage, and other things that join the mix after the waters reach a certain level. In many cities along our major rivers, water levels were anywhere from 11 to 15 feet above flooding levels. The Kansas River levels were above the gauges, so we don't officially know how high the river got that July 13th.
People retreated to higher ground and safety shelters wherever they could, getting typhus vaccines to keep from getting sick from the exposure.
The total count came to 17 lives lost, and the effects of the flood displaced 518,000 others.
Imagine seeing your whole city drowning, where there were homes and businesses almost completely underwater. 1,074,000 acres in Kansas were reported as flooded, all along our main rivers.
Damage costs in 1951 exceeded 760 million dollars, which today would be over 5 billion dollars.
Afterwards, there were cars buried in dried-out mud, and ruined goods had to be thrown out by the tons. Though it's been almost 70 years, the impact this flood had on northeast Kansas will stick with us forever.
If you love looking at old photos and seeing what happened over the years, check out this look back into what life in
Kansas was like in the 1930s.