USGS field crews in Puerto Rico are preparing for Hurricane Maria

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To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Maria, visit the USGS Hurricane Maria page at https://www.usgs.gov/maria.

USGS Flood Event Viewer for Hurricane Maria - Puerto Rico
Screen shot of the USGS Flood Event Viewer for Hurricane Maria, showing storm-tide sensors and gauges in Puerto Rico (Public domain.)

Hurricane response crews from the U.S. Geological Survey are installing storm-tide sensors at key locations in Puerto Rico in advance of Hurricane Maria.

USGS will deploy 14 storm-tide sensors along the eastern and southern coasts of the island. These storm-tide sensors, housed in vented steel pipes a few inches wide and about a foot long, are being installed on bridges, piers, and other structures that have a good chance of surviving a storm surge during a hurricane. The information they collect will help define the depth and duration of a storm-surge, as well as the time of its arrival and retreat. That information will help public officials assess storm damage, discern between wind and flood damage, and improve computer models used to forecast future floods.  

Storm-surges are increases in ocean water levels generated at sea by extreme storms and can have devastating coastal impacts. Direct impacts are expected in Puerto Rico later this week.

The USGS studies the impacts of hurricanes and tropical storms to better understand potential impacts on coastal areas. Information provided through the sensor networks provides critical data for more accurate modeling and prediction capabilities and allows for improved structure designs and response for public safety.

In cooperation with state and federal agencies, USGS also operates more permanent sensor networks installed along the East Coast of the U.S. These networks provide real-time data important to the National Weather Service, FEMA and other USGS partners involved in issuing flood and evacuation warnings and in coordinating emergency responses to communities.

As USGS continues to take all appropriate preparedness and response actions as Hurricane Maria continues moving northward those in the storm’s projected path can visit www.ready.gov  or www.listo.gov  for tips on creating emergency plans and putting together an emergency supply kit.