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Flood in Phoenix, Ariz.
Flood in Phoenix, Ariz.
TitleFlood in Phoenix, Ariz.
Date of Original1980
CreatorShemorry, Bill, 1914-2004
Creator RolePhotographer;
DescriptionView of flood damage to a destructed bridge after severe flooding in central Arizona. Water laps at the bottom of a broken bridge that goes into the water at the far right. Power lines and poles are visible in the distance.
General SubjectTransportation
Subject (LCTGM)Bridges
Bridge failures
Destruction & pillage
Electric lines
Utility poles
LocationPhoenix (Ariz.)
Item Number1-170-122
Format of OriginalPhotographic prints
Color photographic prints
Color images
Dimensions of Original9 x 13 cm.
Transcription"Phoenix Flood" - Handwritten on card with photographs.
NotesTitle created by staff.
Biography/HistoryWilliam E. "Bill" Shemorry was a native of Williston, N.D. who began work in the newspaper industry as a newsboy selling the Williston Herald and the Williams County Farmers Press. In 1953, he started to publish the Williston Plains Reporter, which he operated for 25 years before selling to the Williston Herald. Shemorry then began to concentrate on his own writing and photography. In addition to writing many books on the history of Williams County, he also collected photographs of early North Dakota photographers. Shemorry was an active member of the Williston Fire Department, was Civil Defense Chief of Williams County for three years in the 1950's, and was a combat photographer in World War II. Shemorry's photograph of the discovery of oil in North Dakota on April 4, 1951 at the Clarence Iverson No. 1 is one of the most famous oil photographs ever taken, and was published in many national publications.

1980 - January: Severe flooding on the Salt, Verde, Agua Fria and Hassayampa rivers, and along the Gila River below the confluence with the Salt River. The Salt River below Granite Reef Dam and the Agua Fria below Lake Pleasant are raging torrents, with a peak flow of 170, 000 cubic feet per second. The greatest flood damage occurs along the Salt River in the greater Phoenix area. Eleven of the 13 bridges or crossings are destroyed or damaged. Approximately 600 homes to the west of Phoenix are damaged and others are destroyed, with 6, 000 residents being evacuated. Damage is estimated at $63.7 million.

February 13 through 22 1980...Record discharges...which are later broken in 1993...are recorded in the Phoenix metro area on the Salt...Verde...Agua Fria...and Gila well as on Oak Creek in north central Arizona. The Phoenix metro area is almost cut in half as only two bridges remain open over the Salt River. It takes hours for people to move between Phoenix and the East Valley using either the Mill Avenue or Central Avenue Bridges. Even the interstate 10 bridge is closed for fear it has been damaged. Precipitation during this period at Crown King in the Bradshaw Mountains was 16.63 inches.
Bibliographic ReferenceInformation about the Phoenix flood found at
Second paragraph of Phoenix flood information found at
Repository InstitutionState Historical Society of North Dakota
Repository CollectionWilliam E. (Bill) Shemorry Photograph Collection Mss 10958
Credit LineState Historical Society of North Dakota, William E. (Bill) Shemorry Photograph Collection (1-170-122)
Rights ManagementPermission to reproduce this image must be requested from the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Ordering InformationTo order a reproduction, inquire about the collection, or provide information about an image, please email Emily E. Schultz at
Digital IDws1170122
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