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Flood of 1952

By | Last Modified: March 29, 2019
1952 Flood Marker
1952 Flood Marker

The Flood of April 1952 was one of the worst floods ever seen in Bismarck when the Missouri River crested at 27.9 feet at about 6:00 p.m. Sunday, April 6th. To date, it remains the fourth-highest crest on record (the record being 31.6 feet in 1883) and the region’s worst flood since 1910. Like most local flooding, it was causes by ice jams.

On April 6, the river rose 5 feet in just 2 hours, increasing from 20.2 feet at 11:30am to 25 feet at 1:30pm – 3 feet alone between 1:00-1:30 p.m. Nearly everything south of U.S. Hwy 10 was under water. 200 houses were destroyed and the Wachter Family reported the loss of 300 cattle.

After the closure of the Garrison Dam in April 1953, widespread flooding was rarely seen in Bismarck, and for the first time, allowed expansion south of Front Avenue. Major flooding wasn’t seen again until Spring of 2009 – 57 years later.

According to the National Weather Service, the April 1952 river level was the 4th highest recorded. The highest was 31.6 feet on March 31, 1883. Flood stage is 16 feet.

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