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The 30th Anniversary of the
1977 Johnstown Flood

ON THE EVENING OF JULY 19, 1977 MULTIPLE THUNDERSTORMS ROLLED THROUGH WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA DROPPING 2 TO 12 INCHES OF RAIN. THE HEAVIEST RAIN FELL OVER THE SOUTHERN HALF OF CAMBRIA COUNTY WHERE 1O TO 12 INCHES OF RAIN OCCURRED.

MULTIPLE THUNDERSTORMS THAT WERE BORN IN NORTHWEST PENNSYLVANIA MATURED OVER JOHNSTOWN DROPPING THE BULK OF THEIR RAIN OVER THE CITY. THESE THUNDERSTORMS TOOK ALMOST IDENTICAL TRACKS AS THEY CROSSED CAMBRIA COUNTY THUS THE SAME AREAS RECEIVED RAINFALL FROM MULTIPLE THUNDERSTORMS.

THIS EXCESSIVE RAINFALL PRODUCED FLOODING IN AND AROUND JOHNSTOWN AND CAUSE SEVERAL SMALL DAMS TO BREAK. THIS FLOODING CAUSED 78 DEATHS AND OVER 200 MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF DAMAGE.

IN THE PAST 30 YEARS THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HAS MADE SOME SIGNIFICANT ADVANCES IN WEATHER AND COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY AS WELL AS FORECASTING TECHNIQUES.

A NATIONAL DOPPLER RADAR NETWORK IS NOW IN PLACE TO ACCURATELY TRACK STORMS AND ESTIMATE THE PRECIPITATION THEY PRODUCE. CONTINUOUS SATELLITE COVERAGE IS NOW AVAILABLE TO ALL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICES...WITH PICTURES AVAILABLE AS FREQUENTLY AS EVERY 5 MINUTES DURING SEVERE WEATHER. ADDITIONALLY...FORECASTERS CAN NOW DISSEMINATE WARNINGS IN REAL TIME TO PENNSYLVANIA COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OFFICIALS VIA MULTIPLE DIRECT COMMUNICATION LINKS.

IF ANOTHER EVENT LIKE THIS WERE TO OCCUR TODAY...THERE WOULD AGAIN BE FLOODING AND PROPERTY DAMAGE. HOWEVER...IT IS LIKELY THAT ADVANCES IN FORECASTING AND WARNING SYSTEMS WOULD HELP MITIGATE LOSS OF LIFE AND PROPERTY.

LISTEN TO NOAA WEATHER RADIO TO KEEP ABREAST OF THE LATEST WEATHER INFORMATION...INCLUDING FLOOD AND FLASH FLOOD WATCHES...WARNINGS AND ADVISORIES.


 
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Page Last Modified: 03 November 2009 22:30:28 UTC
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