Thursday, April 10, 2008
An online, user-friendly map that tracks flood conditions has been developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
As expected rains drive flood waters higher along the Mississippi River Valley, USGS crews are in the field collecting data needed to update the flood maps, prepare forecasts, manage the flood and warn communities.
This new system is part of the USGS WaterWatch suite of web-based streamflow products and can be accessed at the Map of flood and high flow conditions Web site.
"The water monitoring systems shown on this map help ensure timely and uninterrupted water information for forecasters, emergency managers, scientists and the general public," says Robert Hirsch, USGS Associated Director for Water. "Improved flood monitoring and assessment will help reduce the risks to communities, property and human life."
This real-time water monitoring is part of a continuing effort by the USGS to assist the National Weather Service (NWS ) in making accurate and timely flood forecasts. During a flood, teams of USGS hydrographers travel to streamgages to keep the instruments operating and to make crucial calibration measurements of the streamflow.
Other information available from this web site for each streamgage include current flood levels, historical peaks and NWS flood forecast information. Monthly flood reports are also available that include maximum flows and compares the data to previous years that observations were made at each station.
For more than 125 years, the USGS has monitored flow in selected streams and rivers across the U.S. The USGS collects data from more than 7,400 streamgages, many of which provide real-time data in 15-minute increments. The information is routinely used for water supply and management, monitoring floods and droughts, bridge and road design, determination of flood risk, and for many recreational activities.
Access USGS information for surface and ground water from 1.5 million sites across the U.S., Puerto Rico and Guam through the National Water Information System Web Interface (NWISWeb) by visiting http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/.
Press Release - USGS
U.S. Geological Survey