New Tide Gauge at Fort Monroe

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The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Fort Monroe Authority, has installed a new tide gauge station at Fort Monroe to help emergency planners protect the shorelines in the Hampton Roads region.

FORT MONROE, Va. — The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Fort Monroe Authority, has installed a new tide gauge station at Fort Monroe to help emergency planners protect the shorelines in the Hampton Roads region.

Tide gauges provide real-time water levels and local meteorology data in areas that are susceptible to the effects of storm-tide flooding. The sensors are arranged in long lines perpendicular to the coast to help measure how local topography, natural features and land use can affect flood damage and wave heights.

USGS tide gauges deliver up-to-the-minute data that are critical to the National Weather Service and other partners, like the Navy and Coast Guard, who conduct operations at sea, issue flood warnings, and initiate evacuation orders for communities.

“This tide gauge will provide timely, accurate information on current conditions that will be of immediate value to those working to forecast flooding and determining how best to prepare for and respond to storms,” said George Harlow, acting director of the USGS Virginia-West Virginia Water Science Center. “Regional predictions will be improved through the addition of this sensor to the overall network."

The monitoring station, to be located at the former Navy Pier at Fort Monroe, will provide decision makers long-term water level data and real-time warnings of storm surge. The system was funded entirely by federal dollars under the Hurricane Sandy response, which was the main catalyst for making this effort possible.

Hurricane Sandy’s landfall affected many coastlines from the mid-Atlantic and northeastern states, including Virginia. Coastal changes, such as beach erosion, over-wash deposition and island breaching, occurred along the Virginia shoreline.

“Fort Monroe, with its strategic location as a former military base, has a long history of being a point of protection for this region. The placement of the tide gauge at the former Navy Pier will provide valuable information for the protection and preservation of the shoreline,” said Glenn Oder, executive director of the Fort Monroe Authority. “It will also provide strategic information to the mariners, fishermen, and pleasure boat operators as they navigate the Chesapeake Bay.”

Before, during and after hurricanes or tropical storms, the USGS applies earth and ecosystem science to measure the height and intensity of the storm surge. The water level and surge collected provides critical information used to forecast floods, test water quality and determine evacuation routes.

Real-time data is readily accessible through the USGS National Water Information System webpage. Additionally, the USGS WaterAlert service allows the public to receive data via e-mail or text (SMS) messages after subscribing.

Information on all the tide gauges located throughout the Chesapeake Bay region, including the Hampton area, can be accessed through the USGS National Water Information System webpage.

For more than 125 years, the USGS has monitored flow in selected streams and rivers across the United States and does so in cooperation with over 850 federal, state and local agencies.