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Black Hills Area Floods - 1951 to 1960

High flows occurred along Rapid Creek and many other streams throughout much of the Black Hills area during late May 1952.  A peak flow of 2,540 cubic feet per second ft3/s occurred on May 23 on Rapid Creek at station 06414000 in Rapid City and a peak flow of 1,770 ft3/s occurred on May 24 at station 06421500 at Farmingdale, east of Rapid City.  Aerial photographs taken on May 23 show flooding for a reach of Rapid Creek in and east of Rapid City.  A relatively large peak of 24,700 ft3/s occurred on May 22 at station 06423500 along the Cheyenne River near Wasta, indicating widespread high water throughout the southern Black Hills area during May 1952.

A peak flow of 9,430 ft3/s occurred on May 23, 1954, at station 06400000 along Hat Creek near Edgemont.  The 1954 peak flow for this station is second only to a peak of 13,300 ft3/s on June 16, 1967. A heavy storm near Rochford on July 28, 1955, caused flooding along Castle Creek. 


Rapid Creek in Rapid City near Canyon Lake on May 23, 1952

Aerial photograph taken on May 23, 1952, of Rapid Creek in Rapid City near Canyon Lake. The bridge in the center of the photograph is Evergreen Drive.

Rapid Creek in Rapid City near Canyon Lake on May 23, 1952

Aerial photograph of flooding along Rapid Creek in Rapid City on May 23, 1952.

Rapid Creek downstream from Rapid City on May 23, 1952

Aerial photograph of Rapid Creek downstream from Rapid City on May 23, 1952.

Rapid Creek downstream from Rapid City on May 23, 1952

Aerial photograph of Rapid Creek downstream from Rapid City on May 23, 1952.


flood iconPhoto gallery of the May 1952 flood in the Rapid City area




[All locations in South Dakota unless otherwise specified. Relative magnitude of event: 1, extreme; 2, severe; 3, moderate; 4, minor; 5, very minor; ft3/s, cubic feet per second. --, not applicable]

Date of storm Date of flood Relative magnitude of event Primary stream Secondary stream(s) Primary town or area Description of event Source of information
1 2 3 4 5
May 21–22, 1952 May 21–22, 1952 -- -- -- X X Rapid Creek Various Rapid City Flooding occurred in many streams from widespread rains throughout Black Hills area. Rapid City Journal (May 22, 1952).
May 22, 1952 May 22–23, 1952 -- -- -- X X Rapid Creek -- Rapid City Damage reported for Canyon Lake area of western Rapid City.  Heavy rains reported for other areas. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2008)
-- May 23, 1952 -- -- -- X X Rapid Creek -- Rapid City Peak flow of 2,540 ft3/s reported for Rapid Creek for May 23, 1952. Miller (1986)
-- May 23,24, 1952 -- -- -- X X Rapid Creek -- Rapid City Peak flows of 2,540 ft3/s on May 23, 1952, at station 06414000 (Rapid Creek at Rapid City) and 1,770 ft3/s on May 24, 1952, at station 06421500 (Rapid Creek near Farmingdale) occurred on Rapid Creek. U.S. Geological Survey (2009)
-- May 23, 1952 -- -- X X X Rapid Creek -- -- Aerial photographs showed flooding for Rapid Creek east of Rapid City. U.S. Geological Survey aerial photos (see above)
-- May 23, 1954 -- -- X X -- Hat Creek -- -- Peak flow of 9,430 ft3/s occurred on May 23, 1954, at station 06400000 (Hat Creek near Edgemont); second only to peak flow of 13,300 ft3/s on June 16, 1967. U.S. Geological Survey (2009)
July 28, 1955 July 28, 1955 -- -- X X -- Rapid Creek -- Rochford, Mystic Heavy rain and minor flooding reported for Rochford and Mystic area. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2008)
July 28, 1955 July 28, 1955 -- -- X X -- Castle and Rapid Creeks -- Rochford Indirect measurements of peak flow reported for nine sites where large flows occurred. Wells (1962)
July 28, 1955 July 28, 1955 -- -- -- X -- Rapid Creek -- -- Peak flow of 1,520 ft3/s on July 28, 1955, at station 06410500 (Rapid Creek above Pactola Reservoir). U.S. Geological Survey (2009)
June 20, 1960 1960 -- -- -- -- X -- -- Rapid City, New Underwood Heavy storm reported for the Rapid City and New Underwood area. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2008)




References

Miller, J.R., 1986, Rapid City climate: Rapid City, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Foundation, 66 p.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2008, The Rapid City flood of 1972—historic Black Hills floods, accessed December 12, 2008, at http://www.crh.noaa.gov/unr/?n=history.

U.S. Geological Survey, 2009, National Water Information System (NWISWeb)—Peak streamflow for South Dakota: U.S. Geological Survey database, http://nwis.waterdata.usgs.gov/sd/nwis/peak.

Wells, J.V.B., 1962, Floods of 1955: U.S. Geological Survey Water Supply Paper 1455, 74 p., accessed January 6, 2009, at http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/usgspubs/wsp/wsp1455B.


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