The Heppner Flood; 110 Years Ago On This Date

June 14, 2013

Today is the anniversary of Oregon’s deadliest weather disaster, the Heppner Flash Flood.  247 people died in just minutes as a dam broke just south of the town on June 14th, 1903.  A wall of water quickly raced through, leveling buildings and carrying lives and property north.  The small Willow Creek suddenly (and briefly) carried about as much water as you might see moving down the Willamette River here in Portland.

MarkFlood_Heppner1903

Here’s a great Wikipedia entry:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heppner_Flood_of_1903

In the early 1980s the Army Corps of Engineers finally constructed the Willow Creek Dam just above the town to alleviate any future flood threat.  It looks a little ominous just south of town in this photo:

800px-USACE_Willow_Creek_Dam_Oregon

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen