The 10 Costliest Floods in American History

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The Mississippi flood is on its way to being the second most destructive in American history, with total costs, including to lost business, estimated to be as much as $9 billion. The United States Army Corps of Engineers flooded Vicksburg, Miss. to save New Orleans, with waters cresting last week in the old southern city at 57 feet, surpassing 84-year old record.

Since the U.S. Geological Survey began collecting flood data at the beginning of the 20th century, some 32 major floods have been reported. Based on an analysis of the USGS database, and adjustments for current dollar values, 24/7 Wall St picked the ten most destructive floods in American history.


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*We excluded those floods which were caused by hurricanes because their damage can be as much from wind as from water. You'll notice that some of the most damaging floods in the early part of the century are toward the bottom of the list. As Americans have become richer -- and urban planners have become gutsier -- we've built more expensive residences and commercial buildings in the path of dangerous floods, which accounts for flood costs growing with time.

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Douglas A. McIntyre and Michael B. Sauter are editors of 24/7 Wall St., a Delaware-based financial news and opinion operation that produces content for sites including MarketWatch, DailyFinance, Yahoo! Finance, and TheStreet.com.

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