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Monitoring Storm Tide, Flooding, and Precipitation From Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, September 2017


Cover Open-File Report 2019-1065

Cover. Photograph showing U.S. Army helicopter installing sandbags to the breached spillway of the Guajataca Dam in Quebradillas, Puerto Rico, October 9, 2017. Photograph courtesy of Staff Sgt. Mark Scovell, U.S. Army.

Hurricane Maria made landfall south of Yabucoa Harbor, Puerto Rico, as a category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour on September 20, 2017. The hurricane devastated much of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with Federal Emergency Management Agency, installed a temporary monitoring network of 13 water-level and barometric pressure sensors along the coast of Puerto Rico prior to the storm. In addition to the temporary sensors, the USGS maintains 99 permanent real-time streamgages and 36 real-time precipitation stations in Puerto Rico. The real-time data, updated hourly, during and after the hurricane are displayed in the USGS Flood Event Viewer ( and in the USGS National Water Information System. 

The USGS measured 181 coastal and riverine high-water marks throughout Puerto Rico after the storm. Water elevations are referenced to the Puerto Rico Vertical Datum of 2002 (PRVD02) and local datums in Puerto Rico and to the U.S. Virgin Islands Vertical Datum of 2009 (VIVD09) in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Data from the Hurricane Maria storm-tide network are available in tab-delimited, American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) format and Network Common Data Form (NetCDF) format by site for each sensor through the USGS Flood Event Viewer. Find out more