American Disasters - Great Washington Disasters

Reviewed Resources for Students and Teachers 


Great American Disasters State by State

Alabama  - Alaska  - Arizona  - Arkansas  - California  - Colorado  - Connecticut  - Delaware  - Florida  - Georgia  - Hawaii  - Idaho  - Illinois  - Indiana  - Iowa  - Kansas  - Kentucky  - Louisiana  - Maine  - Maryland  - Massachusetts  - Michigan  - Minnesota  - Mississippi  - Missouri  - Montana  - Nebraska  - Nevada  - New Hampshire  - New Jersey  - New Mexico  - New York  - North Carolina  - North Dakota  - Ohio  - Oklahoma  - Oregon  - Pennsylvania  - Rhode Island  - South Carolina  - South Dakota  - Tennessee  - Texas  - Utah  - Vermont  - Virginia  - Washington - West Virginia  - Wisconsin  - Wyoming 


These pages do not begin to cover all the disasters that have taken place in every state.  There is also controversy over what constitutes and defines a "great" disaster from any other kind.  All disasters are "great" to those directly involved in them.

So these pages are a mix of "great" and "not so great" disasters.  The major disasters are all covered in the larger sites I have linked to as resources and the rest are related items of interest.

For example, you might not find a particular major disaster on this list, but it may be included in a site such as, which is one of the resources found here.

This is an excellent place to begin your research.  The links found here lead to an ever widening amount of information.  Good luck in your efforts.

Go to Washington Social Studies - Washington History - Capital City Olympia, Washington - Washington Tourism - Washington Disasters - Washington Geography - Washington Lesson Plans - Washington Colleges and Universities


1971 Seattle Monorail Brake Failure - Seattle, Washington __ In 1971 an Alweg Monorail train's brakes failed, resulting in it crashing into the steel girder at the Seattle Center Station. Twenty-six people were injured. - illustrated - From -

1972 Portland-Vancouver Tornado __ "The 1972 Portland-Vancouver Tornado was a destructive tornado that struck on April 5, 1972. The tornado carved a nine mile path of destruction across Oregon and Washington. The tornado left 6 people dead, 300 injured and $3-5 million dollars (1972 USD) in damage." An encyclopedic article with links to related materials. - From wikipedia -

1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens __ "The 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens was a major volcanic eruption. The eruption was the most significant to occur in the contiguous 48 U.S. states in recorded history..." an encyclopedic article. - From wikipedia -

Black Diamond, WA Morgan Slope Mine Explosion, Apr 1907 __ "In an explosion in the Morgan Slope mine, at Black Diamond, four men were killed and five were fatally hurt. Fourteen others were severely injured." A good overview plus links to additional resources. - From -

FEMA: Washington State Disaster History __ "Washington Disaster History. Major Disaster Declarations; Emergency Declarations; Fire Management Assistance Declarations ..." - From FEMA -  

Great Seattle Fire __ "The Great Seattle Fire was a fire that destroyed the entire downtown area of Seattle, Washington, on June 6, 1889." an encyclopedic article. - illustrated - From wikipedia -

Historic Disasters: Washington Disasters  __ You will find a list of Washington disasters. Each list entry is a live link to additional information. - From -

Thirtymile Fire Disaster __ "On July 10, 2001, four U.S. Forest Service firefighters died while battling the Thirtymile Fire in Okanogan County. Six others were injured including two hikers. It is the second deadliest fire in Washington history." - illustrated - From -

Train disaster at Wellington kills 96 on March ... __ "During the early morning hours of March 1, 1910, an avalanche roars down Windy Mountain near Stevens Pass in the Cascade Mountains, taking with it two Great Northern trains and 96 victims." An essay providing a good look at the accident. - From -

Washington Disasters Floods, Fires, Tornadoes, Mine Explosions and ... __ "Washington Disasters. Events that touched our ancestor's lives: Washington floods, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, storms, mining accidents, explosions, ..." Many click to read articles and resources. - illustrated - From -

Washington Earthquake Information __ An overview and history of earthquakes in Washington state. - From - 
Washington State Emergency Management Division __ Disaster preparedness, response, recover and planning information for everyone in Washington State. - From State of Washington -


Wellington, WA Avalanche and Train Wreck, Mar 1910 __ "The passenger train which was swept to destruction had been stalled at Wellington for the last week. As a protective measure the train was backed into the tunnel, while provisions for the marooned passengers were obtained from the company's stores of supplies and from Ballet's hotel." A very interesting story which still causes some controversy. - From Stu Beitler/ -,-wa-avalanche-train-wreck,-mar-1910

Worst coalmine disaster in Washington history ... __ "At 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10, 1892, an explosion and fire kill 45 miners in the Northern Pacific Coal Company’s No. 1 mine at Roslyn, located in the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Central Washington. It will prove to be the worst coalmine disaster in Washington state history." An essay - illustrated - From -

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