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USGS Measures Flooding in Illinois

December 28, 2015
U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring near-historic flooding on rivers and streams across Illinois.

Reporters: Do you want to interview USGS scientists as they measure flooding? Please contact Jennifer LaVista.

U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring near-historic flooding on rivers and streams across Illinois.

USGS field crews are taking streamflow measurements on the Kaskaskia River and the Metro East area around East St. Louis, Illinois. Additional crews are planning to monitor the Embarras River and the Little Wabash River. 

Heavy rainfall since Christmas evening has led to widespread flash flooding across the Midwest. Main areas of flooding in Illinois appear to be in the smaller watersheds northwest of St. Louis, the Kaskaskia River basin upstream from Shelbyville, the upper Embarras River basin and the Little Wabash River basin upstream from Effingham. It is anticipated that flooding will move down the main stem of the Kaskaskia River towards the Mississippi River.  USGS crews have measured 10 long-term sites with peaks ranked within the top five historic levels.

The USGS is 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 local agencies in their flood response activities.

There are 258 USGS-operated streamgages in Illinois that measure water levels, streamflow and rainfall. When flooding occurs, USGS crews make numerous streamflow measurements to verify the data USGS provides to federal, state and local agencies, as well as to the public.

For more than 125 years, the USGS has monitored flow in selected streams and rivers across the United States. 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.