DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - The Great Dayton Flood of 1913 is still the flood of record for the Great Miami River watershed.
Historians say the amount of water that passed through the river channel during this historic flood equals the amount of water that tumbles over Niagara Falls each month.
It began Friday, March 21, 1913, as 60 MPH winds blew in the first of three saturating storms.
Saturday, March 22, a second storm arrives dropping heavy rain and the temperatures, dipping into the 20's by days end.
Easter Sunday, March 23, the third storm converges on the entire Ohio River Valley.
The soggy land could not absorb anymore as nearly 90 percent of the falling rain rushes into the Great Miami River.
Monday, March 24, nearly a foot of rain had fallen as the river swells to a flood stage of about 12 feet.
Tuesday morning, March 25, Daytonian's worst fears were realized as police sirens blared city-wide warning residents that the levee systems had failed.
Up to 20 feet of water consumed the downtown area.
Wednesday, March 26 was marked by explosions as gas lines, not shut-off in time, spark blasts and blazes that consumed an entire city block.
Historians put the number of people who drown or froze to death at 360.
Approximately 20,000 homes were destroyed or badly damaged by debris pushed by rushing flood waters.
Property damage to homes and businesses, including factories and railroads were over $1 million, ($2 billion in today's dollars)
During that time John H. Patterson instructed his NCR workers to stop making cash registers and start making boats which were used to rescue thousands of stranded, now homeless people.
But this tragedy started an incredible spirit of giving in this community that lasts today. The Dayton Foundation, started by the Patterson family is one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the country with over $400 million in assets.
Join Dan Edwards for more on the Dayton Foundation Friday , March 22 beginning at 5pm.
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