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Flooding in the Northeastern United States, 2011

January 1, 2015

Flooding in the Northeastern United States during 2011 was widespread and record setting. This report summarizes peak streamflows that were recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) during separate flooding events in February, March, April, May, July, August, and September. The flooding of late April, which combined snowmelt and heavy rain and the floods associated with the tropical storms of late August and September, were the most severe and widespread. Precipitation totals from March to May for Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont were documented as being the highest totals in 117 years of record. In late August, the heavy rains associated with Hurricane Irene produced widespread flooding in many parts of the Northeastern United States, which resulted in damage estimates in excess of $7 billion and approximately 45 deaths. In September, Tropical Storm Lee produced 6–12 inches of rain in parts of the Northeastern United States adding to the growing total of record peak streamflows set in 2011.

The annual exceedance probability (AEP) for 327 streamgages in the Northeastern United States were computed using annual peak streamflow data through 2011 and are included in this report. The 2011 peak streamflow for 129 of those streamgages was estimated to have an AEP of less than or equal to 1 percent. Almost 100 of these peak streamflows were a result of the flooding associated with Hurricane Irene in late August 2011. More extreme than the 1-percent AEP, is the 0.2-percent AEP. The USGS recorded peak streamflows at 31 streamgages that equaled or exceeded the estimated 0.2-percent AEP during 2011. Collectively, the USGS recorded peak streamflows having estimated AEPs of less than 1 percent in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont and new period-of-record peak streamflows were recorded at more than 180 streamgages resulting from the floods of 2011.

Publication Year 2015
Title Flooding in the Northeastern United States, 2011
DOI 10.3133/pp1821
Authors Thomas P. Suro, Mark A. Roland, Richard G. Kiah
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Professional Paper
Series Number 1821
Index ID pp1821
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Office of Surface Water