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John Wheeler, Published June 25 2012

Weather Talk: Summer of 1972 recalled for deadly flooding in US

Last week’s flash flood in the Duluth area has been called the worst on record for the city.

The last truly catastrophic flood to hit Duluth was 40 years ago in August 1972. That summer was really a terrible year for floods across the United States. On June 9, thunderstorms dumped torrential rainfall on the Black Hills, with up to 15 inches in six hours. Rapid Creek in Rapid City rose 12 feet in two hours. The resulting flood killed 238 people.

A week later, the weak but slow-moving Hurricane Agnes moved up the East Coast, producing torrential rain from Georgia to New York. Floodwaters killed 128 people.

The following winter was extremely wet throughout the southern and central United States, resulting in extreme flooding along the Mississippi River during the spring of 1973.

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