Floods are the most frequent of all catastrophic natural hazards, costing an average of $6 billion in losses annually and threatening lives and property in every state. The U.S. Geological Survey has made the National Flood Summary information from 1970-1998, including maps and data, available on the World Wide Web at http://ks.water.usgs.gov/Kansas/floodsummary. The web site provides the public a tool to compare current or possible flood conditions with past historical flood information by state and year, as to magnitude, cause, loss of life, damage, and cost for this 28-year time period.
For more than 125 years, the USGS has played a critical role in reducing flood losses through scientific research and, most importantly, by operating the national streamgaging network of more than 7,000 gaging stations that provide real-time information to emergency responders and long-term data to flood-plain managers. These components work together to provide the information -- before, during, and after each flood -- to manage flood risks today and expand our understanding of flood processes and characteristics to save lives and property tomorrow. The National Weather Service relies upon long-term flow records to develop models that are used with the real-time streamflow data to issue flood warnings that are vital for flood damage prevention and public safety. Real-time streamflow information is accessible at http://water.usgs.gov/.
Flood information is also available on WaterWatch, a USGS web site that displays maps, graphs, and tables describing current, recent, and past streamflow conditions for the U.S. WaterWatch summarizes flow conditions to include recent and historical peaks for rivers and streams throughout the nation and also depicts and quantifies the severity and spatial extent of hydrologic hazards, including floods and droughts. WaterWatch can be accessed at http://water.usgs.gov/waterwatch.
Included in the National Flood Summary website is the latest volume of the National Flood Summary series describing significant floods in the U.S. and Puerto Rico from 1994-1998, and is available at http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/sir2005-5194/. Copies of Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5194,"Summary of Significant Floods in the United States and Puerto Rico, 1994 Through 1998 Water Years," by Charles A. Perry, may be purchased from the USGS Information Services, Box 25286, Federal Center, Denver, Colo. 80225, or call 1-888-ASK-USGS.