Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Preparation Pays Off In Puerto Rico -- USGS River Data Keeps Flowing

Date:
September 24, 1998
Source:
United States Geological Survey
Summary:
Electricity may be out and communication lines cut off by the tremendous winds and torrential rains of Hurricane Georges, but thanks to good foresight in "hardening" monitoring systems by the U.S. Geological Survey, real-time streamflow data in Puerto Rico continued to flow to reservoir operators, emergency officials, and others who need streamflow information and need it fast.

Electricity may be out and communication lines cut off by the tremendous winds and torrential rains of Hurricane Georges, but thanks to good foresight in "hardening" monitoring systems by the U.S. Geological Survey, real-time streamflow data in Puerto Rico continued to flow to reservoir operators, emergency officials, and others who need streamflow information and need it fast.

The USGS maintains a network of 123 real-time gaging stations in Puerto Rico, part of a nationwide network of more than 4,000 real-time stations (part of a larger national network of nearly 7,000 stations) that keep a close eye on what is happening with the country's rivers and streams.

A preliminary assessment of the streamflow network in Puerto Rico shows that about 12 stations were severely damaged.

Because Puerto Rico is so often in the path of destructive hurricanes, USGS hydrologists had developed contingency operations to ensure that information on the effect of hurricane rains on local rivers would be available to those who need it. The streamflow gaging stations in Puerto Rico have been outfitted with satellite-linked data collection platforms that transmit streamflow in real time to the main computer in the USGS Puerto Rico office in San Juan. The entire computer and data relay system in Puerto Rico was backed up with a diesel-powered generator to ensure that information would continue to flow no matter what Mother Nature might do. Throughout the hurricane's pass over the island, data was received into USGS computers from the backup system and data has been provided on a continuous basis to key cooperators.

The streamflow data for Puerto Rico and the other real-time stations throughout the United States are available to the public from the USGS via the World Wide Web http://water.usgs.gov. Data are updated at 15-60 minute intervals.

As an example of the enormous rise in streamflow that can occur as a result of such torrential hurricane rains, the Rio de la Plata at Highway 2 at Toa Alta, downstream from the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority reservoir, rose from about 10 cubic feet per second (cfs) to a maximum discharge of more than 130,000 cfs in less than 24 hours. Based on historic records available for this river, this may be the great discharge recorded at this site.

The USGS commitment to keep information flowing had a very human side during Hurricane Georges. Dianne Lopez-Trujillo, a computer specialist in the San Juan office, who is also a graduate student at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, stayed throughout the night to keep the computers operating and to keep information going to the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority.

Information on streamflow stage (river height) and discharge (velocity of the river moving past a given point) are critical to reservoir operators in ensuring that reservoirs are not overtopped and that releases can be made to minimize flooding. Preliminary reports from the island were that reservoir gates were open.

While the USGS district office remains closed in the wake of Hurricane Georges, hydrologists continue as best they can to meet their flood response commitments. Teams of hydrologists will be going out to note high-water marks in order to make "indirect" measurements of the discharge of rivers, to delineate the height of storm surges, to map inundated areas and to document the height and severity of flooding. Such post-flood information is critical in developing models of patterns of flooding, or recurrence intervals, that are essential in preparing for future flood events.

As the nation's largest water, earth and biological science, and civilian mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2,000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, contribute to the sound conservation and the economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources, and enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by United States Geological Survey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

United States Geological Survey. "Preparation Pays Off In Puerto Rico -- USGS River Data Keeps Flowing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 September 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980924074732.htm>.
United States Geological Survey. (1998, September 24). Preparation Pays Off In Puerto Rico -- USGS River Data Keeps Flowing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980924074732.htm
United States Geological Survey. "Preparation Pays Off In Puerto Rico -- USGS River Data Keeps Flowing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980924074732.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

Bill Gates: Health, Agriculture Key to Africa's Development

AFP (July 24, 2014) Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Higgins Breaks Record at Mt. Washington

Driving Sports (July 24, 2014) Subaru Rally Team USA drivers David Higgins and Travis Pastrana face off against a global contingent of racers at the annual Mt. Washington Hillclimb in New Hampshire. Includes exclusive in-car footage from Higgins' record attempt. Video provided by Driving Sports
Powered by NewsLook.com
Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Storm Kills Three, Injures 20 at Virginia Campground

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) A likely tornado tears through an eastern Virginia campground, killing three and injuring at least 20. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins