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September 16, 2020

To learn more about USGS’s role in providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Sally, visit 

Hurricane Sally made landfall as a Category 2 storm early Wednesday near Gulf Shores, Alabama. Heavy rains and flooding are expected in the western Florida Panhandle, Lower Alabama and Southwest Georgia. Anyone interested in tracking water-level data for rivers and streams can access more than 10,000 real-time U.S. Geological Survey streamgages across the nation on the USGS Flood Event Viewer.  

“All of the USGS streamgages are operating well,” said Vic Stricklin, Supervisory  Hydrologist at the Lower Mississippi Gulf Water Science Center. “As soon as it’s safe, USGS crews will get out into the field to perform measurements manually in the affected areas.”   

Video Transcript
USGS Storm Tide Sensors are specialized scientific instruments used to measure the depth and duration of storm surge during coastal storms. The data these sensors collect before, during and after a storm will help public officials assess storm damage, and improve computer models used to forecast storm surge and coastal change. FEMA and other federal, state and local agencies also use this data to steer relief efforts by pinpointing the areas hardest hit by storm tide flooding.

USGS streamgages provide real-time data on water levels for rivers and streams, with many also tracking streamflow. The National Weather Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local emergency managers use the streamgage data to develop flood forecasts, make flood control decisions, track flooding, identify the best evacuation routes and plan emergency response, ultimately working to save lives and property. The public can track changing water levels at locations of interest by following changes in readings at the nearest USGS streamgage in the Flood Event Viewer

The USGS viewer also shows the locations of instruments, called storm tide sensors, that were deployed before the storm. Over the weekend, USGS crews installed 12 storm tide sensors along the Gulf coast from Louisiana to Alabama to measure and record Hurricane Sally’s coastal impacts. Typically, these sensors are retrieved within a few days of a storm’s passing.  Water-level data are reviewed by the responsible USGS Water Science Center and made publicly available following approval. 

Hurricane Preparedness Tools & Resources 

For more information please visit these websites: 

USGS Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Storms – Information on coastal change 

USGS Flood Information—Those in the storm's projected path can visit or for tips on creating emergency plans and putting together an emergency supply kit. 

USGS WaterAlert – Sends email or text messages from the USGS streamgage of your choice 

USGS WaterWatch— Provides current USGS water data for the nation 

NOAA’s National Hurricane Center 

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