Maintaining Stream Gauges to Monitor for Flood Conditions

River levels are constantly monitored to provide flood forecasts and information to keep you safe, especially during heavy rain.

All over the Shenandoah Valley there are stream gauge houses that are in place.

Russ Lotspeich with the U.S. Geological Survey works all over Virginia monitoring and checking stream gauges.

He mainly measures water level, and flow, or how fast the water is moving.

Lotspeich says, "We take that water level information and convert it to stream flow information that a lot of our gauges the Weather Service takes that information and uses it in their predictions in flood forecasting."

Flood forecasts are very important in the Valley, especially this year since we've seen more than normal rainfall amounts and flooding.

Lotspeich says, "We've been pretty busy making measurements that have exceeded or met historical flood peaks."

Because the river's information is so valuable the gauge is powered by solar panels, and the information is transmitted by satellites. This way the information can still be collected during strong storms.

If you are interested in finding stream or river levels, or flood height information there are two sources of information. One from the U.S. Geological Survey, and the other from the National Weather Service.

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/rt

http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=lwx

You can also sign up for text alerts from USGS when current conditions meet a threshold that you set.
That information can be found at http://water.usgs.gov/wateralert


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