Profile America -- Friday, May 31st. One of the worst disasters to hit the U.S. happened on this date in 1889 -- the Johnstown, Pennsylvania Flood. Torrential rains caused a nearby artificial lake, created for a fishing and hunting resort, to spill over and weaken its earthen dam. When the dam broke, it unleashed 20 million tons of water in a giant wave that roared through Johnstown, killing more than 2,300 men, women and children, and destroying the homes of thousands more. The flood remains one of the nation's most costly, single weather-related disasters. While tornadoes take more lives< flooding is a constant threat. In the years from 2000 to 2010, a total of 694 people died in floods across the U.S. Profile America is in its 17th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Statistical Abstract of the United States 2012, t. 388