HOUSTON (CW 39) — The USGS has a tool that makes it easy to track water level data for local rivers and streams — something that will be very important as Hurricane Laura is set to make landfall soon.
The USGS Flood Event Viewer includes real-time tools to monitor water levels of over 10,000 streamgages across the nation. There are more than 250 in Louisiana and almost 670 in Texas.
Category 4 Hurricane Laura is expected to reach the Louisiana and Texas coasts Wednesday night and move inland later in the night or Thursday morning, bringing with it heavy rains, wind and storm surge, according to the USGS.
The USGS says the National Weather Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and local emergency managers use the streamgage data to develop flood forecasts, make flood control decisions, track flooding, identify the best evacuation routes and plan emergency response.
This information is also important for residents as they can track changing water levels near them.
“The real-time information these streamgages provide is invaluable in providing timely, critical information to decision makers as they address public safety,” said Marie Peppler, USGS emergency management coordinator. “It’s also very useful for the public as they track local conditions, but everyone should always follow the evacuation and safety guidance of their local emergency officials.”
Although not trackable in real-time, the USGS also deployed 28 storm tide sensors along the Gulf coast from Texas to Alabama to measure and record Hurricane Laura’s coastal impacts. They will retrieve them after the storm and use the data to learn more about the storm patterns.