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    Lately Louisville (and to be fair, most of the country) has been slammed with freezing temps, icy conditions, and loads of snow. With yet another winter weather catastrophe forecasted for later this week, one might ask if it could possibly get any worse.

    But in fact, it has been worse. Here are 5 Louisville storms that make snowpocalypse 2015 look like (dare I say) a fresh spring breeze.


    1. The Great Flood of 1937

    Over 19 inches of rain fell in January of 1937 and it is still Louisville’s wettest month ever recorded. 70% of Louisville was submerged and 90% of Jeffersonville, Indiana was flooded. 175,000 Louisvillians were forced to evacuate with damage totaling to over $3.3 billion in current US dollars. An estimated 90 Louisville residents perished as a result of the flood.  

    2. The March 27th, 1890 Tornados

    Over two-dozen tornadoes of at least F2 strength hit the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee valleys on March 27th, 1890. One of which was an F4 that tore into the west side of Louisville, killing a total of 76 Louisville residents and injuring over 200 more. The tornado also destroyed more than 700 buildings and damaged the water tower at the end of today’s Zorn Avenue.

    Tragically the Falls City Hall on 1124 West Market Street was also hit, causing the building to collapse in on itself. An estimated 44 men, women and children lost their lives from the building’s cave in. It remains one of the highest single building death tolls in the nation.

    3. The 2009 Ice Storm

    Freezing rain, sleet, and several inches of snow struck Louisville January 26th through the 29th in 2009. In some areas, over an inch of ice was reported. As a result, 205,000 Louisvillians and 609,000 Kentuckians lost power. It continues to be the worst outage in Louisville and Kentucky’s history as it took up to 10 days to get everyone’s power back on. School was closed for a full week because the storm had wiped out 69 schools’ electricity. After declaring a state of emergency and dispatching 4,600 guardsmen, Governor Beshear called it the biggest natural disaster in Kentucky’s history.

    4. Remember when Downtown Louisville turned into the Ohio River?

    In March of 1997, heavy rain hit Louisville causing the Ohio River to reach more than 30 feet above flood stage. Tens of thousands had to be evacuated from their homes and both Interstate 64 and 65 were shut down. Having caused $200,000,000 in damage, it was one of the worst floods in Louisville’s history.

    5. The 2004 Christmas Snowstorm

    Though the worst snowstorm to hit Louisville was in 1998, when it snowed for 60 consecutive hours totaling over 22 inches, the 2004 Christmas snowstorm arrived during the busiest season of the year. After receiving 10 inches of snow on December 22nd and 23rd, 33,000 Louisville residents lost power for 2 days. Additionally, Interstate 64 closed for 3 full days and Interstate 65 was limited to one lane on Christmas day. Our friends across the river in Southern Indiana experienced historic amounts of snowfall, totaling 20 to 30 inches. As a result, local businesses suffered a huge blow from the lack of last minute Christmas shoppers and holiday traveling was less than merry.

    Know of other Louisville storms deemed worse than snowpocalypse 2015? Leave them in the comments! More storm information can be found online at Louisville, KY's National Weather Service. 

    Photos are credited in the headings. Cover photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

    Ashley Hoff's picture

    About Ashley Hoff

    Lover of dogs, coffee, sports, and funnies. Often found with burrito in mouth and book in hand.

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