SAWSC Monitoring of Hydrologic Hazards

Science Center Objects

A major element of the USGS mission is the documentation of the extent and magnitude of extreme hydrologic events, like floods and droughts. The South Atlantic Water Science Center is a leader in monitoring extreme water conditions, from droughts and falling groundwater levels to floods and storm-tide surges to water-quality problems.

September 2009 Flooding. Chattahoochee River near Whitesburg (02338000)
Epic September 2009 FloodingChattahoochee River near Whitesburg (02338000)(Credit: Alan Cressler, USGS. Public domain.)

SAWSC Monitoring of Hydrologic Hazards

A major element of the USGS mission is documenting the extent and magnitude of extreme hydrologic events, like floods and droughts.  The data from the USGS streamgage network are used to effectively design billions of dollars in infrastructure investments—bridges, dams, water systems, and much more.  Collecting these data over many decades allows for comparison of the current flood or drought magnitude to past events.

Every day, personnel from SAWSC collect data that are used by the National Weather Service to forecast floods or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to operate their dams and projects.  Water systems operators rely on USGS streamflow and groundwater data during droughts to access water is availability.  Also, real-time water-quality data can notify water managers of spills or saltwater intrusion along our coasts. 

SAWSC is a leader in monitoring hurricane storm tide that provides data to improve storm surge forecasts and emergency managers information to better focus storm response and recovery efforts.  Recent deployments by SAWSC teams include Hurricane Sandy (2012), Hurricane Joaquin (2015), Hurricane Matthew (2016), and Hurricane Irene (2011).

See where the water will go during a flood with Flood Inundation Maps and real-time rivercams.  Monitor floods in an entire basin with Flood Tracking Charts.  Get water data sent right to your smart phone with WaterAlert and WaterNow!

By getting a drink of water, to driving over a bridge, or evacuating from a flood--the lives of every American depend upon USGS data!

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