December 1964 started like many years before ... little did residents know they would suffer a devastating blow in the Pacific Northwest. Heavy snow followed by warm torrential rain created the 1964 Christmas Flood, one of the worst natural disasters Oregon has witnessed in modern history – for many communities it was even bigger than the 1996 flood. Residents, businesses and governments in Washington, Oregon, northern California and parts of Idaho and Nevada suffered nearly $500 million in damages in 1965 dollars; that's nearly $3.5 billion dollars today.
Now it's 50 years later and we’re better able to detect and respond to such an event. It's important to remember the potential for another flood like this remains, and the possible impacts on our state’s growing population and ever-developing landscape are enormous.
Do you know your risk? Are you flood-ready?
On this site, learn about the weather conditions leading to the Christmas Flood of 1964 and the consequences to life, property and the economy of the region. You can also find information and resources to help you understand your current flood risks and improve individual and community responses to a flood.