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January 1996 floods deliver large loads of nutrients and sediment to the Chesapeake Bay

April 1, 2000

The Blizzard of 1996 struck the Mid-Atlantic region in January, depositing a record amount of snowfall. Within two weeks of the paralyzing blizzard, warm and extremely humid air entered the region, followed by a major rainstorm. The combination of warm, humid air and heavy rainfall melted the snow at an unprecedented rate. In just over one day, two to five inches of water from snowmelt combined with two to five inches of rainfall, resulting in widespread major flooding throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, including the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The January 1996 storm caused severe flooding on many Chesapeake Bay tributaries. As a result of the flooding, large amounts of nutrients and sediment entered the Bay. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) monitored the amount of streamflow, nutrients, and sediment that entered the Chesapeake Bay as a result of the flood. This information is used to evaluate the effect of hydrologic events of this magnitude on the Bay's health and living resources.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1996
Title January 1996 floods deliver large loads of nutrients and sediment to the Chesapeake Bay
DOI 10.3133/fs14096
Authors Linda D. Zynjuk, Brenda Feit Majedi
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Fact Sheet
Series Number 140-96
Index ID fs14096
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization