Iowa History Daily: August 5 - Iowa's Record Rainfall

Iowa History Daily: On August 5, 1959, rain started falling and didn’t let up until the following day. The largest rainfall ever recorded, 16.69 inches, fell in Decatur County as the storm stalled for over seven hours, while locations throughout the state experienced significant flooding.

The third day of consecutive rains, by the morning of August 6 the Osceola Sentinel reported over seven inches of rain already registered in Decatur County, stalling highway traffic and sending creeks over their banks. The paper also noted the Grand River flooded large areas while lightning knocked out electric and telephone service throughout the area.

Flooding resulted throughout the state, with Fort Madison seeing inundation of an 80-block area as over 9” of rain fell. Officials estimated a total of 130,000 acres flooded throughout the area. The Washington Evening Journal reported: “Mrs. Iva Humburd, Fort Madison, was swept off her porch and carried two blocks down the street…”


The Centerville Daily Iowegian reported the surging waters in Decatur County closed Highway 2 east of Leon, as well as Highway 69 south of the city. Near Lineville reports noted “most of the neighbors were able to get their cattle and hogs to high ground. But corn and beans are taking a beating.” As the rains finally abated, significant damage, although no loss of human life, resulted. #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryCalendar


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