US Army Corps of Engineers
Portland District Website

The Christmas Flood of 1964: Learn from the past. Prepare for the future.

What happened

Freezing temperatures and 3-4 feet of snow followed by a tropical storm’s warm air and pounding rain caused the flood. Read the National Weather Service's detailed account of the storm.

Diagram illustrating the conditions behind the 1964 floodHow bad was it? So bad they made a movie about it – watch the 1964 newsreel.

Want a guided tour of the flood area? Visit our interactive photo map to see how the flood impacted communities in different parts of the state.

See how far the Willamette River jumped its banks at several locations on our interactive slide map

The Christmas 1964 flood was one of the biggest floods experienced in the Pacific Northwest, with damage extending through five northwestern states. Learn more about the flood’s economic and geomorphic impacts.


Simply illustrated, torrential tropical rains fell on frozen ground and an unusually high snowpack, producing the 1964 Christmas Flood. The graph represents conditions at Government Camp, Ore.