Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

USGS science helps disaster-struck communities understand flash flooding

Date:
June 17, 2010
Source:
U.S. Geological Survey
Summary:
The Little Missouri River in Southwest Arkansas experienced a flash flood June 11, with waters that rose over 20 feet in just 5 hours, killing 20 people. In response to this severe and unusual flooding, the USGS deployed a team of scientists to document and study the flow and height of the floodwater as it coursed down the Little Missouri River and its tributaries.

The Little Missouri River in Southwest Arkansas experienced a flash flood June 11, with waters that rose over 20 feet in just 5 hours, killing 20 people. In response to this severe and unusual flooding, the USGS deployed a team of scientists to document and study the flow and height of the floodwater as it coursed down the Little Missouri River and its tributaries.

"Flash flooding is one of the biggest causes of natural hazard-related deaths in the United States and we are here collecting data to understand what happened from a hydrologic standpoint, in order to help the emergency management community and National Weather Service better protect and educate the public," said Dr. Robert Holmes, USGS National Flood Specialist. "For those camping in one of these beautiful spots near flowing water, it is important to know how high and how fast the water can rise in the case of flash floods."

Flash flooding happens when intense thunderstorms dump large quantities of rain into steep or urban watersheds in a short period of time. Flash floods are hard to predict, but data collected by the USGS is crucial to formulating better predictive models. These models are needed by forecasters and emergency responders to warn the public and improve planning, in order to minimize the impacts of future floods.

The team of USGS scientists in Arkansas is using hydrologic forensics to reconstruct the discharge, elevation, and velocities of the flood. These scientists are surveying the high water marks and geometry of the river for input into hydraulic models. The models estimate the peak flow rate of the flood as the water rushes down the streams.

Information from these models is compared to long-term records collected by the USGS on nearby rivers to determine how often such floods are likely to occur. Knowing how often a flood is likely to occur helps area communities decide whether to require higher construction elevations, warning systems, or flood-control works.

"In addition to collecting data for long-term uses, the USGS collects real-time data to aid those making daily decisions about water-related activities, whether for resource management, business operations, flood response or recreation," said Robert Mason, a USGS hydrologist. "This recent flash flood illustrates the importance of constantly monitoring the flow of our Nation's waters and quickly disseminating the information to those who need it."

The USGS recently released a new service, called WaterAlert, that allows users to receive text or email updates about specific river flows, groundwater levels, water temperatures, rainfall and water quality at any of the sites where USGS collects real-time water information. WaterAlert helps inform emergency responders, recreationalists, campers and others about current water conditions, such as flooding, so that they can take appropriate action. The service is located at http://water.usgs.gov/wateralert/.

The USGS operates approximately 7,500 streamgages as part of the National Streamflow Information Program, which provides emergency responders and the public with long term, accurate and unbiased information on streamflow in real-time.

The recent flooding occurred early Friday morning, June 11, 2010. According to Mason, this area in Arkansas is a known flood "hot spot" because of the relatively steep terrain and proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf supplies vast quantities of humid air, and as this air flows over the mountains and hills, it rises and cools, resulting in intense rains.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

U.S. Geological Survey. "USGS science helps disaster-struck communities understand flash flooding." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100616135050.htm>.
U.S. Geological Survey. (2010, June 17). USGS science helps disaster-struck communities understand flash flooding. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100616135050.htm
U.S. Geological Survey. "USGS science helps disaster-struck communities understand flash flooding." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100616135050.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) The mystery of the moving rocks in Death Valley, California, has finally been solved. Scientists are pointing to a combo of water, ice and wind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) Researchers at UC Berkeley are testing a prototype of an earthquake early warning system that California is pursuing years after places like Mexico and Japan already have them up and running. (August 26) Video provided by AP
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