Vintage photos: the 1933 Chesapeake Potomac hurricane – flooding in Washington, D.C.

Eighty years ago today, the Chesapeake Potomac hurricane pushed a wall of water up the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. It also carved the inlet between Ocean City and Assateague Island, as Don Lipman described in his earlier post.

The incredible 11-12 foot storm surge that rushed up the Potomac river caused massive flooding in tidal areas of Alexandria and the District.

Related: If Hurricane Sandy had come south: the dramatic storm surge scenario for Washington, D.C.

The storm also dumped 6-10 inches of rain over the region leading to the flooding of creeks and streams.

On the Library of Congress’ Web site, CWG’s Kevin Ambrose discovered a set of archived photos documenting both the surge and stream flooding around the District.

I reproduce them here:

Flood of August 23, 1933. East Potomac golf course looking to Washington Monument from Haines Point (Library of Congress)
Flood of August 23, 1933. East Potomac golf course looking to Washington Monument from Hains Point (Library of Congress)
Flood of August 23, 1933. Rock Creek tunnel under Massachusetts Ave. (Library of Congress)
Flood of August 23, 1933. Rock Creek tunnel under Massachusetts Ave. (Library of Congress)
Flood of August 23, 1933. Water rushes in Rock Creek Park II (Library of Congress)
Flood of August 23, 1933. Water rushes in Rock Creek Park II (Library of Congress)
Flood of August 23, 1933. Water rushes in Rock Creek Park (Library of Congress)
Flood of August 23, 1933. Water rushes in Rock Creek Park (Library of Congress)
Flood of August 23, 1933. Fallen tree over one of pedestrian bridges
Flood of August 23, 1933. Fallen tree over one of pedestrian bridges
Flood of August 23, 1933. Ray farm on East-West highway. (Library of Congress)
Flood of August 23, 1933. Ray farm on East-West highway. (Library of Congress)
Flood of August 23, 1933. Speedboat concession at Hains Point. (Library of Congress)
Flood of August 23, 1933. Speedboat concession at Hains Point. (Library of Congress)
Flood of August 23, 1933. Washington Monument from south Ellipse. (Library of Congress)
Flood of August 23, 1933. Washington Monument from south Ellipse. (Library of Congress)
Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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Jason Samenow · August 23, 2013

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