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Media Advisory: USGS Crews Measure Flooding in Northeast Iowa

August 24, 2016

Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they measure flooding? Please contact Jason McVay at 319-430-6962.

U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring flooding on the Turkey River at Spillville and the Upper Iowa River at Decorah in Northeast Iowa. Flow levels on the Upper Iowa River are higher than recorded levels since 2008. 

USGS scientists are collecting critical streamflow data that are vital for protection of life, property and the environment. These data are used by the National Weather Service to develop flood forecasts, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to manage flood control, and the various state and local agencies in their flood response activities. More information is available on the USGS Iowa Water Science Center website.

"Our crews look at the streamgage data online every day,” said Jon Nania, Supervisory Hydrologist for the USGS Iowa Water Science Center. “When they saw the Upper Iowa and Turkey Rivers rising this morning, they quickly deployed to that part of the state.” 

The information the USGS collects today will not only help in this current flood, but will provide better information if these levels are seen again in the future, Nania explained.

There are nearly 200 USGS-operated streamgages in Iowa that measure water levels, streamflow and rainfall. USGS crews will be following the flood downstream making discharge measurements until the flood waters recede.

For more than 125 years, the USGS has monitored flow in selected streams and rivers across the U.S. The information is routinely used for water supply and management, monitoring floods and droughts, bridge and road design, determination of flood risk and for many recreational activities.

Access current flood and high flow conditions across the country by visiting the USGS WaterWatch website. Receive instant, customized updates about water conditions in your area via text message or email by signing up for USGS WaterAlert.

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