The USGS Response to Record Flooding in the Midwest Continues

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USGS crews continue fieldwork in response to the ongoing flooding in the Midwest. Nearly 70 USGS gages in North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota are above minor flood stage with more rain forecast in the coming days.

UPDATE: 4/8/19

Flooding caused by rainfall and snowmelt continues in parts of the Midwest. USGS crews in Minnesota and the Dakotas are in the field deploying equipment and making observations of streamflow, work that provides data to aid the response in the affected states.

Since flooding began in March, USGS crews in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota have made nearly 500 streamflow measurements despite ice and overland flooding challenges. Information collected by the USGS during flooding is critical for resource managers and emergency responders to help protect life and property. The USGS coordinates efforts with the National Weather Service, US Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation and many local and state partners.

Resources

  • map of flood and high-flow conditions in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota
  • Timelapse images of flooding on the Red River of the North in Fargo, ND
  • For reporters interested in interviewing scientists measuring flooding in or near Fargo, ND, see the USGS's latest media advisory for details

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Crews are in the field to keep the USGS’s streamgage network working properly, perform on-site measurements of flooded rivers, and measure high-water marks as flood waters recede.

In the coming days and weeks, USGS crews will continue to monitor streamgages, make flood measurements in the field to determine how much water is flowing, and provide data to aid the response in the Midwest. The data from the USGS’s nationwide streamgage network provides vital information to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Weather Service, and other federal, state and local agencies, enabling them to make river forecasts, operate flood control structures, and make important emergency management decisions. Besides aiding first responders and other emergency managers during the flooding, USGS streamgage data and flood science are used in the aftermath of floods and coastal storms to make decisions for long-term recovery.

As some states hit by severe weather begin to return to normal, others are preparing for what’s to come or dealing with continued flooding and the dangers that come with it. Here’s a look at science in action with the ongoing field work the USGS has been involved with in response to the flooding:

Looking Toward the Future

The National Weather Service is forecasting above-average precipitation this spring signaling an elevated flood risk for much of the country through May, with the potential for major or moderate flooding in 25 states.

As snowpack is expected to continue to melt across the West, the USGS will continue to monitor stream conditions and use data collected to prepare for current and future flood events. For up-to-date info on conditions in your area visit the USGS WaterWatch website. Sign up for high-water alerts at the USGS WaterAlert website.

Other Resources

Local Media Advisories

Reporters, do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they measure flood impacts? Find state-specific info here:

Real-time Data

Interested in real-time streamflow data? Check out our online viewers: