Floods are a dangerous hazard throughout the world. On average in the United States, about 165 people are killed and about $2 billion of damage occurs each year. Most people underestimate the power and destructiveness of flood waters.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collects data about the country's surface water, such as how much water is flowing in our streams and rivers, and when a river reaches "flood stage".
Most currently available flood maps are used to assist planners in identifying and preparing for flooding scenarios. These maps portray statistics based on long-term historical records to estimate and forecast an approaching weather system.
There are two basic kinds of floods, flash floods and the more widespread river flooding. Flash floods generally cause greater loss of life and river floods generally cause greater loss of property.
Several types of data can be collected to assist hydrologists predict when and where floods might occur:
Several kinds of flood maps are available from USGS and other sources.Online USGS map showing real-time flood conditions
What would happen if the temperature in the world rose enough to melt all the snow and ice at the North and South Poles?
No one knows for sure what would happen if the snow and ice in the polar regions all melted. Sea level would rise, which would flood coastal regions. Climate would be affected worldwide.
Occasionally, a piece of equipment may malfunction or there may be physical problems at a station. USGS tries to correct a station or equipment problem within several days of its first occurrence, and is generally successful in meeting this goal.
Go to the current water resources conditions site at WaterWatch for a map of real-time streamflow in the United States for the day of the year.
Why do some real-time stream-gaging stations experience equipment problems for extended periods of time?
USGS tries to correct an equipment or station problem within several days of its first occurence, and is generally successful in meeting this goal.
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