Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Recovery Activities

Data Restoration at Gage Locations in Puerto Rico

USGS streamgage network provides timely forecasts to protect lives and property, manage water supplies and electric power production, and track the hydrologic recovery of storm-altered watersheds.

The damage to USGS streamgages was not limited solely to physical streamgaging assets.  Floodwaters in Puerto Rico caused changes in sediment load and channel geomorphology, altering the channel characteristics used in determining the stage-streamflow relationship. Nearly every USGS streamgage relies on a site-specific stream stage-streamflow relation to convert measured stream stage (the water elevation) to more useful streamflow (quantity of water pass by the streamgage); therefore, supplemental appropriations are being used to collect the data necessary to re-establish these relationships at impacted gaging locations in Puerto Rico. 

Peak flow discharge measurements were made by indirect methods at twenty-one streamflow-gaging stations to document Hurricane Maria flooding; over 80 USGS hydrographers from across the United States participated in this effort. Period-of-record peak discharges were recorded at 30 streamflow stations. In addition new stage-discharge ratings were developed using the Step-backwater method at 60 of the stream-gage stations that underwent profound geomorphologic changes by riverine flooding. USGS is documenting the magnitude and frequency of the flooding in a planned report. In addition USGS is surveying all of the peak elevations in feet above Puerto Rico Vertical Datum of 2002 (PRVD02). All water level time-series will be presented in PRVD02 when this project is completed. 

Download the current stream-gage ratings in the Ratings Depot or Water Watch Ratings Toolbox.


Peak discharge from Hurricane Maria


Wesley W Stone

Associate Center Director for Data
Caribbean Florida Water Science Center, Southeast Region
Phone: 813-498-5057