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Flood on the Virgin River, January 1989, in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada

November 1, 1995

The impoundment of water in Quail Creek Reservoir in southwestern Utah began in April 1985. The drainage area for the reservoir is 78.4 square miles, including Quail Creek and Leeds Creek watersheds. Water also is diverted from the Virgin River above Hurricane, Utah, to supplement the filling of the reservoir.

A dike, which is one of the structures impounding water in Quail Creek Reservoir, failed on January 1, 1989. This failure resulted in the release of about 25,000 acre-feet of water into the Virgin River near Hurricane, Utah.

Flooding occurred along the Virgin River flood plain in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada. The previous maximum discharge of record was exceeded at three U.S. Geological Survey streamflow-gaging stations, and the flood discharges exceeded the theoretical 100-year flood discharges. Peak discharge estimates ranged from 60,000 to 66,000 cubic feet per second at the three streamflow-gaging stations.

Damage to roads, bridges, agricultural land, livestock, irrigation structures, businesses, and residences totaled more than $12 million. The greatest damage was to agricultural and public-works facilities. Washington County, which is in southwestern Utah, was declared a disaster area by President George Bush.

Publication Year 1995
Title Flood on the Virgin River, January 1989, in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada
DOI 10.3133/wri944159
Authors D.D. Carlson, D. F. Meyer
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series Number 94-4159
Index ID wri944159
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse