Floods, Avalanches, and Tidal Waves

Updated March 20, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

The following table lists the worst floods, landslides, avalanches, tidal waves and mudslides in history.

Holland: 100,000 people reputedly drowned by sea flood in Friesland.
China: rebels destroyed Kaifeng seawall; 300,000 drowned.
May 31, Johnstown, Pa.: more than 2,200 died in flood after South Fork Dam collapsed.
March 1, Wellington, Wash.: avalanche in Cascade Range swept 2 trains into canyon, killing 96. Worst U.S. avalanche.
June 14, Willow Creek, Ore.: Flash floods swept away town of Heppner, killing more than 240.
March–April, Ohio: Statewide flooding of rivers killed at least 428.
March 12, Santa Paula, Calif.: collapse of St. Francis Dam left 450 dead.
July–Aug., China: flood along Yangtze River left 3.7 million people dead from disease, starvation, or drowning.
Jan. 31–Feb. 5, northwest Europe: storm followed by floods devastated North Sea coastal areas. Netherlands hit hardest; 1,794 dead.
Aug., Teheran, Iran: flood rains resulted in some 10,000 deaths.
Dec. 2, Fréjus, France: flood caused by collapse of Malpasset Dam left 412 dead.
Jan. 10, Peru: avalanche down extinct Huascaran volcano killed more than 3,000.
Oct. 9, Italy: landslide into the Vaiont Dam; flood killed about 2,000.
Oct. 21, Aberfan, Wales: avalanche of coal, waste, mud, and rocks killed 144 people, including 116 children in school.
Jan. 18–26, southern Calif.: floods and mudslides from heavy rains caused widespread property damage; at least 100 dead. Another downpour (Feb. 23–26) caused further floods and mudslides; at least 18 dead.
Nov. 13, East Pakistan: 200,000 killed by cyclone-driven tidal wave from Bay of Bengal. Over 100,000 missing.
Aug., Hanoi, North Vietnam: heavy rains flooded the Red River Delta, killing 100,000.
Feb. 26, Man, W. Va.: a slag-pile dam collapsed under pressure of torrential rains, flooding 17-mi valley, killing more than 118.
June 9–10, Rapid City, S.D.: flash flood caused 237 deaths and $160 million in damage.
Aug. 5, Yangtze River, China: 63 dams failed, killing an estimated 80,000 to 200,000 people from floods and subsequent famine. The Chinese government never acknowledged the event.
Aug. 1, Loveland, Colo.: flash flood along Route 34 in Big Thompson Canyon left 139 dead.
Aug.–Sept., Bangladesh: heaviest monsoon in 70 years killed more than 1,300. Floods inundated three-fourths of country, leaving 30 million homeless and damages estimated over $1 billion.
June–Aug., Ill., Iowa, Kan., Ky., Minn., Mo., Neb., N.D., S.D., Wis.: flooding of the Mississippi River and tributaries caused 50 deaths and about $12 billion in damage. Almost 70,000 left homeless.
Dec. 1996–Jan. 1997, U.S. West Coast: torrential rains and snowmelt produced severe floods in parts of Calif., Ore., Wash., Idaho, Nev., and Mont., causing 36 deaths and about $2–3 billion in damage.
March, Ohio and Mississippi Valleys: flooding and tornadoes plagued Ark., Mo., Miss., Tenn., Ill., Ind., Ky., Ohio, and W.Va. 67 were killed and damage totaled approximately $1 billion.
April, N.D., S.D., and Minn.: Grand Forks, N.D., and surrounding area devastated as the Red River swelled 13 ft above flood level. Eleven deaths were recorded.
Summer, central and northeast China: heavy flooding of Yangtze River killed more than 3,000 and left 14 million homeless. Estimated damages exceeded $20 billion.
Summer, Asia: torrential downpours and flooding left more than 950 dead and millions homeless in S. Korea, China, Japan, the Philippines, and Thailand.
Oct., southwest Mexico: heavy rains killed at least 360 people in mudslides and flood waters.
Nov. and Dec., Vietnam: devastating floods caused $285 million in damage and killed more than 700 people.
Dec. 15–16, northern Venezuela: heavy rains caused catastrophic flooding and mudslides, killing an estimated 5,000 to 20,000 people. Country's worst modern-day natural disaster.
Feb., southeast Africa: weeks of rain resulted in deadly floods in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, killing more than 700 people and leaving 280,000 homeless.
mid-September, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam: rising flood waters from the Mekong River and its tributaries destroyed crops and livestock and left at least 235 people dead and 4.5 million homeless. Damages were estimated at $50 million in Cambodia and $24 million in Thailand.
Sept. 20, Karmadon Gorge, North Ossetia, Russia: an avalanche caused by a 500-ft chunk of glacier left 150 people dead.
June–Aug., Asia: annual monsoons caused record floods and more than 2,000 deaths in China, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.t5
Aug., Europe: record flooding across central and eastern Europe killed 108 people and caused billions of dollars of extensive infrastructure damage and deforestation.
May 18–26, Dominican Republic and Haiti: torrential rains overflowed the Soliel River, causing floods and mudslides, destroying villages, and killing more than 2,000.
June–Aug., South Asia: annual monsoons left 5 million homeless and more than 1,800 dead in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.
Jan.-Feb., South East Asia: extreme winter weather including cold, snowfall, avalanches, and flooding in Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan killed more than 800 people.
July 26, Mumbai, India: a record 37 in of rain in a 24-hour period and a week of monsoon rains left 1,000 dead in western India.
Feb. 17, Guinsaugon, Philippines: a landslide, caused by heavy monsoon rains, engulfed Guinsaugon, burying more than 1,000 people. Rescue workers were unable to recover many survivors. More than 3,330 were left homeless. The landslide was estimated to be 13 ft deep and covered an area of 1.2 sq mi (3 sq km).
June 22–28, Northeast U.S.: heavy rainfall broke records, caused extensive flooding, and killed 16.
August, Ethiopia: flooding of several rivers in southern and eastern Ethiopia killed more than 800.
June 18, Gainesville, Tex.: torrential rains inundated parts of Gainesville and Sherman, killing four.
June 24, Karachi, Pakistan: 226 were reported dead after heavy rains and severe storms.
July 8, West Bengal, India: Monsoon rains and flooding left 660 people dead, and more than a million stranded.
August 14, North Korea: Hundreds are reported dead or missing after a week of heavy rain in central and southern North Korea. Huge areas of farmland were washed away, provoking fears that North Korea's food crisis could worsen.
mid-August, Midwest and Plains states: A string of storms triggers flooding in Ohio, Wis., Minn., Texas, and Okla., and destroys hundreds of homes. More than 20 people are killed.
March 17–19, Ark., Ill., Ky., Mo., Ohio.: 13 people die, hundreds of people are evacuated from their homes, and hundreds of roads are closed during major floods that stretch from Texas to Pennsylvania.
May 3, Myanmar: Cyclone Nargis hits the Irrawaddy Delta and the city of Yangon, killing about 78,000 people. Most of the deaths and destruction were caused by a 12-foot high tidal wave that formed during the storm. Cyclone Nargis is the worst natural disaster since the tsunami in 2004.
June 9–18, Ind., Iowa, Ill., Mo. and Wis.: severe flooding from storms cause already swollen rivers and lakes to flood, killing 10 people, breaking three dams, and causing thousands to evacuate their homes. In addition, at least 90 roads are closed. According to the National Weather Service, the Cedar River is 17 feet above flood stage, the worst flooding Cedar Rapids has ever seen.
June 17, southern China: the worst flooding in 50 years kills over 60 people, destroys 5.4 million acres of crops, causes landslides, and leaves 13 people missing in nine southern Chinese provinces.
July 27, southeastern Europe: five days of heavy rain caused major flooding in the Ukraine and Romania, killing 18 people and causing at least $300 million in damages.
Aug. 1, Pakistan: a large mass of ice broke on K2, the world's second-highest mountain, causing an avalanche that killed 11 climbers and injured several others.
Aug. 25, Chamonix, France: eight climbers died after an avalanche near Mount Blanc buried them under 165 feet of ice.
Aug. 28–Sept. 1, India: flooding from the Kosi River causes the deaths of at least 75 people and the displacement of over 2 million more from their homes in the northern state of Bihar. At least half a million people are left stranded, while half a million others are living in unsanitary relief camps.
Dec. 28, Canada: eleven people on snowmobiles are buried when two avalanches hit Harvey Pass, a popular backcountry snowmobile destination in British Columbia. Three snowmobilers survived, while eight others remained buried.
Jan. 26, Turkey: an avalanche slams into a group of 17 Turkish hikers on Mount Zigana, dragging them more than 1,640 feet and killing 10 of them.
Aug. 7, Philippines: at least 22 tourists on Mount Pinatubo were trapped and killed when heavy rain caused flooding and landslides.
Aug. 10, Taiwan: Typhoon Morakot caused a mudslide that buried schools, homes, and at least 100 people in southern Taiwan.
Feb. 27, Chile: a magnitude 8.8 earthquake triggers tidal waves that wreak havoc along the coast.
May 3, Tenn.: Southeast flooding kills at least 24.
June 11, Ark.: Caddo and Little Missouri Rivers reportedly surge 20 ft. due to flash floods which kill 18.
July 30, Pakistan: massive flooding in Pakistan, following two days of record rainfall, kills over 1,600 people and leaves millions homeless.
Sept. 28, Mexico: a landslide following a period of heavy rain buries hundreds of homes and kills at least 11.
Aug.–Oct., Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Vietnam, Laos: at least 2,828 people are killed due to record flooding during the 2011 monsoon season.
Dec. 13–19, Philippines: floods caused by Tropical Storm Washi kill 1,268 people.
July, Nigeria: an extreme rainy season causes flash flooding. At least 72 people are killed and thousands are left homeless.
July 7, Russia: five months of rain falls overnight causing massive flooding and killing 172 people. Nearly 13,000 homes are damaged. Most of the damage happens in the city of Krymsk.
March 10, Afghanistan: an avalanche hits the village of Daspai. Fifty-six people are confirmed dead, while another 145 are presumed dead.
April 7, Pakistan: an avalanche hits a Pakistani military base near the Siachen Glacier region. Dozens of soldiers and contractors are buried under snow. It is declared the worst avalanche to ever hit the area as 129 soldiers and 11 civilians are killed.
Sept. 12, Colorado: flash floods around Boulder, Colorado, cause massive damage, cutting off highways, destroying hundreds of homes and killing at least six people. More than 800 people are unaccounted for in Boulder and Larimer Counties. The flooding is due to heavy rains producing record levels of rainfall.
March 22, Washington: a mudslide in Oso, Washington, kills at least 41 people. Two months of heavy rains are considered to be a major cause as well as an 1.1 magnitude earthquake that occurred right behind the mudslide area on March 10, 2014.
April 18, Mount Everest: at least 16 Sherpa guides die in an avalanche. They are fixing ropes for climbers at an elevation of 19,000 feet when the avalanche hit. It is the deadliest avalanche ever recorded on Mount Everest.
May 2, Afghanistan: as many as 2,100 people are killed in a mudslide in Abi Barak, a village in northern Afghanistan. About 300 mud homes are buried in mud that is 200 feet deep in some areas. The tragedy is the worst natural disaster to strike the country in a decade.
May 15, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina: the countries are hit with the heaviest rains and flooding in over a century. At least 44 people are killed in the flooding. Serbia's Prime Minister Aleksander Vucic declares a state of emergency for the whole country. In Bosnia, rivers surpass record levels and army helicopters have to evacuate dozens stranded in their homes in the town of Maglaj.
April 25, Mount Everest: at least 18 people die and dozens are injured in an avalanche triggered by a magnitude-7.8 earthquake in central Nepal. It is the deadliest avalanche ever recorded on Mount Everest.
Oct. 2, Guatemala: a mudslide kills 131 people and buries 125 homes. The death toll is expected to climb with more than 300 people still missing. The landslide occurs after two weeks of consistent rain causes a hillside to collapse. It is one of the country's worst natural disasters in years.

See also, Tsunami Factfile, Earthquakes and Volcanic Eruptions and Major Storms.


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