March 17, 1936, was a very memorable day to lots of people who lived in Pennsylvania. This was the day of the St. Patrick's Day Flood. A combination of weather elements filled first the channels of the Little Conemaugh and the Stony Creek and then the streets, homes, and businesses with water.
The winter of 1936 hadn't been much better that year. There was a continuous run of below -freezing temperatures, so that the snow never melted, and the new snow piled on top of the snow already on the ground. The snow measured up to fourteen feet high!
Johnstown was naturally concerned about flooding during the spring thaw. City officials began their river watch in late February. On February 26, city officials ordered that ice gorges be dynamited out of the Stony Creek near the Riverside section of the city. It was feared the gorges would pile up against the bridge and cause the river to dam and overflow into the community.
When on March 14 temperatures rose to 50 degrees, and thunderstorms rolled in to the area, the dreaded rapid meltdown began.