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News Release


April 26, 2011
Jim Petersen 501-554-2996 petersen@usgs.gov
Jaysson Funkhouser 501-766-3663 jefunkho@usgs.gov

USGS Measures Record Flooding in Arkansas

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Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they measure flooding?  Please contact Jim Petersen or Jaysson Funkhouser at the numbers listed above. 

U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring all-time record flooding on the Illinois River in Northwestern Arkansas. 

Twelve USGS streamgages in northern Arkansas have measured the highest flood levels ever recorded. Two out of the 12 sites have long-term streamflow records since 1979. 

USGS scientists are collecting critical streamflow data that are vital for protection of life, property and the environment. These data are used by the National Weather Service to develop flood forecasts, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to manage flood control, and the various state and local agencies in their flood response activities. 

“We had six USGS streamgages damaged; two which are National Weather Service flood forecast sites, were repaired immediately by our crews to ensure that the NWS would continue to receive accurate flood measurements,” said Jaysson Funkhouser, USGS Supervisory Hydrologist. “USGS crews are quickly working to fix the other four real-time gages, which are also critical for flood-forecasting and flood-control operations.” 

In Arkansas, there are more than 150 USGS-operated streamgages that measure water levels, streamflow and rainfall. Additional streamgage stations are anticipated to hit record levels as the flood waters continue to rise. The most substantial flooding is occurring at the USGS streamgages in the smaller to moderate-sized streams of the White River and Arkansas River Basins. 

A map of real-time streamflow monitoring sites and graphs of flooding in Arkansas from the past seven days are available at the USGS Arkansas Water Science Center real-time streamflow website

For more than 125 years, the USGS has monitored flow in selected streams and rivers across the U.S. 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 current flood and high flow conditions across the country by visiting the USGS WaterWatch website. Receive instant, customized updates about water conditions in your area via text message or email by signing up for USGS WaterAlert.


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