A billion tons of rain left death, destruction and at least one bizarre rumor.
Death and Injury
Deaths - 238, including 5 missing. Also includes 3 National Guardsmen, 3 firefighters, 7 airmen from Ellsworth Air Force Base, 1 police reserve officer and other rescuers
Injured - 3,057, including 118 hospitalized
Homes destroyed: 770 permanent homes,
565 mobile homes
Homes damaged: 2,035 permanent homes,
785 mobile homes
Businesses destroyed: 36
Businesses damaged: 236
Vehicles destroyed: 5,000
Total Damages -- $165 million, throughout the Black Hills
In Rapid City -- $35.1 million in residential damage
and $30.9 million in commercial damage
In Box Elder -- $1.2 million residential,
In Keystone -- $137,000 residential,
$1.5 million commercial
Utilities: $10.3 million
Roads and Bridges: $35.4 million
Rural: $6.2 million
Tourism income lost: $30 million
Other economic losses: $12 million
Total estimated amount of water dumped by the June 9, 1972 storm: 800,000 acre feet, or the equivalent of 14.5 Pactola Reservoirs
Put another way: 1 billion metric tons of water (by conservative estimate) Heaviest rainfall was 15 inches in six hours at Keystone.
One location in the Black Hills reported 4 inches in 30 minutes.
More than 10 inches fell over a 60-square-mile area.
The most common rumor, heard nationwide, was the false report that the dam at Pactola Reservoir had burst.
Most unusual rumor: That crocodiles had escaped into Black hills streams from Reptile Gardens. No creatures escaped from the popular tourist attraction, although some rattlesnakes drowned.
Information from the Rapid City Journal's May 17, 1992 Special Edition on the "Flood of 1972 - 20 Years Later".)