CHARMECK USGS

Prepared in cooperation with the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County

Effects of August 1995 and July 1997 Storms in the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina

Prepared by Jerald B. Robinson, William F. Hazell, and Wendi S. Young

USGS Fact Sheet FS-036-98--April 1998
In this report --

BLUE DOT Introduction

BLUE DOT Rainfall in the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County During the Storms of August 26-28, 1995, and July 22-24, 1997

BLUE DOT Flooding in the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County as a Result of the Storms of August 26-28, 1995, and July 22-24, 1997

BLUE DOT Effects of the August 26-28, 1995, and July 22-24, 1997, Storms on Water Quality

BLUE DOT References

Frequently asked questions --

BLUE DOT How can we have two "100-year floods" in less than two years?

BLUE DOT What is a recurrence interval?

BLUE DOT Does a 100-year storm always cause a 100-year flood?

BLUE DOT How can the same streamflow be a 100-year flood at one location and only a 50-year flood at another?

BLUE DOT Determination of Peak Flows

INTRODUCTION

Floods that occurred in parts of the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, in August 1995 and again 2 years later in July 1997 were among the most severe and damaging on record. These floods were the result of excessive rainfall amounts from the remnants of Tropical Storm Jerry and Hurricane Danny, respectively. Flood insurance claims for the August 1995 flood totaled $4 million, and an additional $1 million was issued as loans to repair property damage. The more widespread flood of July 1997 caused as much as $60 million in property damage. Although property damage was extensive in July 1997, an even greater consequence was the tragic loss of three lives in flood waters caused by the storm.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, operates a dense hydrologic data-collection network within the city and county. In 1995, the network included 28 raingages and 12 streamflow gaging stations, mainly within the Charlotte city limits. By 1997, the network was expanded to 46 raingages and 16 streamflow gaging stations (fig. 1). This network provides valuable data for the documentation and interpretation of water-resources information, including flooding, for the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

This report presents selected hydrologic information associated with the August 1995 and July 1997 storms and addresses some commonly asked questions concerning these events. Information presented includes rainfall, streamflow, and water-quality conditions.

Tow Truck A tow truck driver wades through waist-deep water to assist motorists as Stewart Creek overtops Morehead Street. (Photograph from The Charlotte Observer/Kent D. Johnson)

For Further Information Contact:

District Chief
U.S. Geological Survey
3916 Sunset Ridge Road
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: (919) 571-4000
http://wwwnc.usgs.gov/

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