US Army Corps of Engineers
New England District

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Flooding in New England

New England has a long history of flooding. Through the years it has been hit with various storms that have caused millions of dollars in damages. Some of the more destructive hurricanes and floods the area has experienced since 1900 occurred in November 1927; March 1936; September 1938; September 1954; and August 1955. However, some of the highest flood levels in New England history occurred in April 1987 and gave many Corps dams the most serious test since they were built. Despite having six dams discharge excess water over emergency spillways because reservoir capacities had been reached, the 31 dams under the jurisdiction of the Corps' New England District held back billions of gallons of water that otherwise would have caused severe flooding downstream. The amount of water held back by these dams from this heavy rainfall was equivalent to a reservoir that could put the entire state of Rhode Island under more than one foot of water. Damages prevented by Corps flood control projects during the April 1987 storm amounted to $462.6 million. Damages prevented by operation of hurricane barriers during a coastal storm in December 1992 and the flood control dams in the spring of 1993 totaled another $104 million.