Shenandoah County Utilizes IFLOWS Program

By: McKinsey Harris Email
By: McKinsey Harris Email

Localities all over the Valley have several ways to monitor weather and alert their residents and these systems have been put to good use lately.

David Ferguson, the deputy emergency manager for Shenandoah County, has been busy watching rainfall and flooding.

"USGS rain gauges and stream gauges. We do active observation, utilizing either the sheriff's office or fire and rescue staff, along with just regular citizens that call in and alert us on what's going on," says Ferguson.

However, a major resource for the county, especially last week, are the 15 IFLOWS rain gauges.

"We did have several alarms that came through, and we could actually tell where the rain was falling and where we needed to go observe manually," says Ferguson.

The rain gauges funnel water into a tipping bucket, and the Shenandoah County 911 communications center is notified every time a bucket tips.

"Give us an alert on when flooding is potential, or when we might have flash flooding. They will send out alerts to us, via 911 center, to let us know that we need to be on the lookout for any kind of flash flooding that occurs in the county," explains Ferguson.

Pete Benedetto works for Soil and Water Conservation in Shenandoah County and is updating two dams in the county.

While they aren't in danger of breaking, he's trying to get the gauges as an extra safety measure.

"If we have the gauges and can use them and get the information quickly to emergency services, we can notify people if in the event we'd need to evacuate them," says Benedetto.

All of the information goes online, so it's available to anyone, anywhere.

"And what we find is a lot of people utilize this website to let them know how much rain they're getting and how high the streams are," says Ferguson.

To access the IFLOWS information, click on the link included on this page.


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