Johnstown Flood matched volume of Mississippi River

New work determines flow rate of the 1889 flood that was one of America's deadliest disasters

By Sid Perkins, 15:48 PM October 20, 2009

PORTLAND, Ore. — The devastating flow released when a dam burst upstream of Johnstown, Pa., in May 1889 transformed a small, normally tranquil river into a raging torrent that briefly rivaled the mighty Mississippi, a new study reveals.

Johnstown, which lies about 100 kilometers east of Pittsburgh, was a thriving coal- and iron-producing town in the years following the Civil War, says Carrie Davis Todd, a hydrologist at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. Then, on the rainy afternoon...

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