National Water Conditions Surface Water Conditions Map - January 1997
Provisional data subject to review.

Conditions for the month of January 1997

Southwest Region

Extreme flooding continued in central and northern California and western Nevada in January. Record peak flows were recorded on the Truckee, Walker, and Carson Rivers in Nevada, and the Russian and Napa Rivers in California. Numerous levees failed in California causing widespread areas of inundated land along the Cosumnes, Mercer, Feather, Toulumne, and San Joaquin Rivers. Thousands of people had to be evacuated, highways were closed, and even the Reno International Airport was closed due to flood waters. Yosemite National Park was closed and visitors had to be evacuated. Further information and details of the flooding are available at Nevada and Northern California . Rainfall totals for the first week of January were up to 25 inches in some locations. The Carson River near Dayton, Nevada, changed its course and destroyed several homes on January 6.

After flooding had subsided somewhat, another storm on January 23 dumped up to 5-6 inches of rain on northern and central California which brought many creeks and streams again to flood conditions. The Napa, Russian, Cosumnes, and Merced Rivers saw sharp rises. The storm also hit the flooded areas of Nevada and again caused small stream flooding and aggravated the continuing large river flooding.

Blue Canyon, California, has received 77.06 inches of rain from December 1 to January 25. This amount is 123 percent of the normal annual rainfall for that site.

New maximum January mean monthly flows were set at four streamflow index stations in California and one in Nevada. They are the West Walker River below Little Walker River near Coleville, California, 1807 percent of the long-term (1961-90) median; the North Fork American River at North Fork Dam, California, 1251 percent; Sacramento River at Verona, California, 353 percent; the Merced River at Happy Isles Bridge near Yosemite, California, 1274 percent; and the Humboldt River at Palisades, Nevada, 467 percent.

Northwest Region

New Year's Day saw continued flooding across much of Oregon and Washington. The Nehalem River at Nehalem, Oregon crested over 8 feet above flood stage. Flooding was generally moderate in Washington. Severe flooding was experienced on the Umatilla River near Pendleton, Oregon. The Willamette River basin only had moderated flooding. The Bear Creek in Medford, Oregon, did set a new all-time peak flow with 16,100 cubic feet per second (ft3/s) on January 1.

Intermountain West Region

The Weiser, Idaho, area had severe flooding on January 1-5. The Weiser River crested at record levels nearly 7 feet above flood stage on January 2. Some levees failed and evacuations were necessary.

Snowmelt caused by above normal temperatures caused ice jams and flooding on the Musselshell and Yellowstone Rivers in Montana on January 3. The Little Salmon River in Montana also had snowmelt and ice jam flooding from January 1-4.

New maximum January monthly mean flows were established at three streamflow index sites in Idaho, one in Montana, and one in Wyoming. They are the Snake River near Heise, Idaho; the Snake River at Weiser, Idaho; the Salmon River at White Bird, Idaho; the Yellowstone River at Corwin Springs, Montana; and the North Platte River above Seminoe Reservoir near Sinclair, Wyoming.

Mid-South Region

Heavy rainfall of more than 3 inches in one hour caused flash flooding in Marshall County, alabama, on January 5.

Heavy rains on January 9-13 caused minor river flooding in Alabama and Mississippi. Agricultural flooding was experienced along the Big Black River near Bentonia, Mississippi when the river crested about one foot over the flood stage.

Rainfall of 1.5 inches or more on January 24 caused flash flooding in Bledsoe, Marion, and Sequatchie Counties in Tennessee.

Mid-Continent North Region

Snowmelt and ice jams caused flooding problems along the Missouri River at Williston, North Dakota, from January 8-13.

A new maximum January monthly mean flow was established at the streamflow index station on the Bad River near Fort Pierre, South Dakota.

Atlantic Southeast Region

Flash flooding resulted after 3 to 5 inches of rain fell on January 14 in Broward and Palm beach Counties, Florida.

The streamflow index station on Fisheating Creek at Palmdale, Florida has been below-normal for the last six months. Flow in January was only 15 percent of the long-term median.

New England and New York Region

An ice jam on the St. Regis River near Bresher Falls, Vermont, caused localized flooding problems on January 14.

On January 23, warm temperatures and snowmelt caused ice jam flooding on Muddy Creek in Madison County, New York.

Eastern Great Lakes Region

An ice dam caused by wind-pushed lake ice caused flooding along the Chocolay River in Marquette County, Michigan, on January 21.

Rainfall and snowmelt caused lowland flooding in Indiana and Illinois from january 23-30. The ground was frozen in much of this area forcing all the rain and snowmelt to runoff. The wabash River in Indiana and Illinois and the White River in Indiana were most affected. This flooding caused the Ohio River downstream of the Wabash River confluence to also rise slightly above flood stage.

In Ohio, ice jams caused minor flooding along the Walhonding River near Warsaw on January 24. These jams persisted through January 29.

Ice jams on January 28 caused the Wabash River near Lafayette and Covington, Indiana, to rise to 4 feet above flood stage, causing some low land flooding.

Mid-Atlantic Region

On January 24, ice jams along French Creek, Oil Creek, and the Allegheny River in western Pennsylvania caused some minor flooding. Ice jams remained a problem on the Allegheny River through January 29.

The index gaging station on Seneca Creek near Dawsonville, Maryland, has been above-normal flow for ten consecutive months. January 1987 flow was 175 cfs, which is 164 percent of the long-term median.


Two streamflow index stations in Alaska were below-normal flow in January and two were in the normal rang. The Kenai River at Cooper Landing, Alaska, and the Tenana River at Nenana, Alaska were below-normal at 52 and 89 percent of median, respectively.


One of the three reporting streamflow index stations in Hawaii was above-normal, the others were in the normal range. The East Branch of North Fork Wailua River near Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii, was at 209 percent of the long-term January median.

Puerto Rico

Both streamflow index stations in Puerto Rico were above-normal in January. A new maximum January monthly mean flow was set at Rio Grande de Manati at Highway 2 near Manati, Puerto Rico, at 912 cubic feet per second (ft3/s), which is 434 percent of median for January.

Big Three Rivers Combined Flow

The combined flow of the three largest rivers in the lower 48 states-- The St. Lawrence, the Columbia and the Mississippi--decreased by 13 percent from last month to 1,095,000 cubic feet per second (ft3/s). this flow is 117 percent of the long-term January median and in the normal range.

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Water Webserver Team
Page Last Modified: Friday, 08-Jun-2007 16:37:44 EDT