This week for Georgetown Time Machine, GM is traveling back to the summer of ’72 and the devastating floods that Hurricane Agnes wrought.
The photo is from DDOT’s archives and it shows K St. completely flooded. The storm emerged from the Gulf of Mexico June 15, 1972. After moving through Florida and causing a great deal of damage, it weakened as it moved through the southeast. But then as it approached the mid-Atlantic it suddenly strengthened again and brought huge amounts of rainfall:
The Georgetown waterfront was no match for that amount of water coming down the Potomac gorge, as you can see from more of DDOT’s photos:
The last photo shows a flood gauge reading nearly seventeen feet. According to a fantastic Washingtonian article on the storm on June 24th:
The Potomac peaks at 45 times its normal flow, the Susquehanna at 32 times. The Potomac reaches flood crest in DC—16.7 feet at Georgetown’s Key Bridge—missing the 1936 record only because the crest arrived at low tide.
Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the storm. And like the Beatles playing at the Washington Coliseum, every old time Washingtonian can still remember it clearly.