Columbus Destroyed...1913 and what has changed

Columbus Destroyed…1913 and
what has changed
Julie Dian-Reed
NWS Weather Forecast Office
Wilmington, OH
[email protected]
OSU and Stream Gauging
In November of 1892, Ohio State
University (OSU) students established
the first known stream-gaging station in
Ohio on the Olentangy River near the
Columbus campus. Using instruments
furnished by the U.S. Geological Survey
(USGS), students installed a temporary
gage and made the first current meter
measurements in Ohio. Although the
station was operated only until June
1893, it provided computations of daily
discharge and was the first standardized
approach in Ohio to stream gaging.
Historic Marker Near King Avenue Bridge
No Stranger to flooding…
1898 Columbus flood…
Drainage affecting Columbus
Columbus (1913)
Scioto River Upstream of
~27,000 cfs
2.5 times all subsequent floods
Scioto River Volume
near Columbus
Scioto upstream of confluence
Calculated volume ~92,000CFS
(increase of 85 KCFS in 24 hours)
Julian Griggs, 1913
But What about the Olentangy?
Flood aftermath in Delaware, OH
Railroad Bridge
Remains of Tracks
bridge erected
Olentangy River high water
(before and after Delaware Lake)
1913 flood volume
was roughly 3 TIMES
more than any other
1922 and 1927 crests
partially flooded Ohio
Delaware Lake
completed in 1951
1913 Crest
The ‘Official’ Columbus River
17’ in 24 hours
1913 flood stage
A city in ruins…
• Franklinton Railway station, now historic
Fire Fighters Union
After Water Receded
Batelle Park
Santa Maria
• Caption:
“Science must
not overlook the
great need of
preventing great
floods that
destroy life and
Several proposed
changes to the
Broad St. Looking West Again…
River Channel Improvement Plan, 1919
City of Columbus Public Works
Present Day Columbus
(near/below confluence)
• 1993-2000
OSU Campus?
From OSU Online History
• Out of bounds
In April 1913, rivers throughout Ohio
overflowed their banks after long and heavy
rains. Nearly 200 acres of campus was
flooded as the Olentangy rose almost to
Townshend Hall, on Neil Avenue just off the
Oval. Students pitched in to help in the
aftermath, rescuing people from their houses
and doing other relief work. The flood, which
caused hundreds of deaths and massive
destruction statewide, is still considered
Ohio's greatest natural disaster.
Ohio State Effects…
FEMA 1% Flood Today
Moving a River
“…Nature bats last” -Robert Pyle
Photo Courtesy OSU Libraries

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