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RivermenandRiverboats > The Super Flood 1937 ~Paducah~ > The Super Flood 1937 ~Paducah~ Go to subcategory:
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Date Posted:02/17/2009 10:30 AMCopy HTML

Due to the marine traffic westward, a literal city arose Phoenix-like where
Thirty-Second Street crosses Broadway.  One-room buildings were hurriedly constructed of wood and business carried on in a fashion.  City officials and the military had their offices there and relief agencies operated from that point.  The Sun-Democrat, with seven feet of water in its plant, had a temporary office in the vicinity and issued daily editions in Mayfield.
In the face of the catastrophe, Paducahans at moments forgot their cares and joked about the situation.  Pulling up his hipboots, a native sauntered up to a policeman directing traffic in midstream at an intersection and chortled, "I'm a stranger--where's the Ohio?"
After the flood, two questions were uppermost in the minds of Paducahans--what caused the flood and will it ever happen again?
The United States Weather Bureau took time to size up and summarize the rains which brought the river so far out of its banks.  During January, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana had three times the normal rainfall for that month.  It was the heaviest January precipitation on record for these states.  Total rainfall for that month averaged 15.37 inches in Kentucky.  The January rainfall in Paducah was 17.52 inches, half as much as ordinarily falls in a whole year.  It rained continuously for sixteen days.  Meteriologists attributed the flood to the excessive rainfall during the wettest month in the nation's history.
Paducah may never again see a flood of such proportions.  In the recorded history of man, there never was such a huge amount of water at the city's door nor such a combination of circumstances to produce it.  The Indians built instinctively and set camp on safe ground. When they staked their tepees beside the broad Ohio River where Paducah stands, white men envied their urging and bargained them out of the land.  For 110 years--since the town was platted--it was never inundated, and probably never will be again.

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