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USGS Responds to Record-Breaking Rains in Oklahoma

Matt Ball on May 22, 2015 - in Corporate, Stormwater

May 22, 2015—As moderate to major flooding in southern Oklahoma continues, multiple crews of U.S. Geological Survey scientists are in the field measuring how the recent heavy rains are impacting streamflows and streamgages.

As of Wednesday morning, areas with the most significant flooding are the tributaries and main stem of the Red River. Rainfall totals from Tuesday morning to Wednesday morning were 2-6 inches in southern Oklahoma, falling on already saturated soils and high rivers. Other river basins with very high water levels include the lower Washita and the Little River basins.

Oklahoma has already exceeded the historic record total for precipitation in May for parts of the state. Many of the streamgages located in southern Oklahoma in the Red River drainage basin recorded flows at or near the highest measurements in the last 10 to 15 years.

USGS scientists are collecting critical streamflow data that are vital for protection of life, property and the environment. These data are used by the National Weather Service to develop flood forecasts; the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to manage flood control; and local and state emergency management in their flood response activities. More information is available on the USGS Oklahoma Water Science Center website.

There are 188 USGS-operated streamgages in Oklahoma that measure water levels, streamflow and rainfall. Current streamflow conditions are available online.

More detailed information on flooding in Oklahoma is available on the WaterWatch flood page.

For more than 125 years, the USGS has monitored flow in selected streams and rivers across the U.S. The information is routinely used for water supply and management, monitoring floods and droughts, bridge and road design, determination of flood risk and for many recreational activities.

Access current flood and high flow conditions across the country by visiting the USGS WaterWatch website. Receive instant, customized updates about water conditions in your area via text message or email by signing up for USGS WaterAlert.

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