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New Water Science Tools Help Communities Prepare for Floods
Commemorating the Great Flood of 1913
Released: 3/18/2013 4:48:05 PM

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communications and Publishing
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119
Reston, VA 20192
Scott Jackson 1-click interview
Phone: 614-430-7707

Jim Morris 1-click interview
Phone: 614-430-7702

Marisa Lubeck 1-click interview
Phone: 303-202-4765



Editors: A USGS video about the 1913 flood is available online.

WaterNow (http://water.usgs.gov/waternow/) allows you to send an email or text message containing a USGS current-conditions streamgaging site number and quickly receive a reply with its most recent observation(s).
The WaterNow allows you to send an email or text message containing a USGS current-conditions streamgaging site number and quickly receive a reply with its most recent observation(s).
(High resolution image)

New flood inundation maps (bottom) are now available for Findlay, Killbuck, and Ottawa, Ohio. These maps show where flooding would occur at various high river levels. They are just one example of U.S. Geological Survey products and services developed in the 100 years since Ohio’s devastating Great Flood of 1913. 

The 100-year anniversary of the Great Flood of 1913 falls during the 2013 Flood Safety Awareness Week.  

The USGS prepared the new maps to help emergency managers and the public make more informed decisions when flooding is forecast. Flood inundation maps are connected to real-time river levels at USGS streamgages to help communities identify immediate risks during a flood. Since the historic flood of March 23-27, 1913, which caused more than 400 deaths and $300 million in damages throughout the Ohio River Valley, the USGS has developed streamgage networks and tools to better support flood preparedness and provide flood warnings.

“The 1913 statewide flood is Ohio’s ‘Greatest Natural Disaster’. Since then, the number of USGS streamgages increased from one to about 230 currently operating in Ohio,” said Scott Jackson, USGS Ohio Water Science Center Deputy Director. “Today, the USGS and its partners maintain about 8,000 streamgages nationwide.” 

This collection of stream data is necessary to flood science because it provides real-time information and a database of field-measurement data, streamflow statistics, and annual peak streamflows that are available online through the USGS National Water Information System

“The USGS and its partners are currently developing flood warning systems that serve as a foundation for making science-based decisions to better manage flood risks and mitigate flood impacts,” Jackson said. 

New USGS flood inundation maps are underway for Marietta, Beverly, McConnellsville, and multiple sites in Licking County, Ohio. 

The USGS WaterAlert (http://water.usgs.gov/wateralert/) service allows subscribers to receive daily or hourly updates about current conditions in rivers, lakes, and groundwater.
The USGS WaterAlert service allows subscribers to receive daily or hourly updates about current conditions in rivers, lakes, and groundwater.
(High resolution image)

Other USGS flood-related tools include:

  • WaterWatch, a website that displays maps, graphs, and tables describing real-time, recent, and past streamflow conditions in the U.S.;
  • WaterNow which relays on-demand current conditions and water data to a user’s mobile phone or e-mail;
  • WaterAlert which sends an e-mail or text message when streamflow or streamgage measurements exceed user-defined thresholds. 

Historical information on the 1913 flood and current-day tips on flood preparedness, mitigation, and more can be found on the Silver Jackets “Flood of 1913” website.  The Silver Jackets program assembles teams of local, State, and Federal agencies, including the USGS, to work together to prepare and respond to natural disasters such as floods.  

More information about USGS streamgaging in Ohio is available online.

The USGS network of about 8,000 streamgages are used to track rising water in order to minimize or mitigate flood damages.
The USGS network of about 8,000 streamgages are used to track rising water in order to minimize or mitigate flood damages. ((High resolution image)


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