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River Levels Set Records in 10 States

River Levels Set Records in 10 States

Editors note: this news release will be updated online with more information on the streamgage records being set by state as it becomes available.

Rivers and streams are reaching record levels as a result of Hurricane Irene’s rainfall, with more than 80 U.S. Geological Survey streamgages measuring record peaks.

The northeast is seeing the bulk of the records, as higher than average precipitation the past few weeks had saturated the ground in many locations prior to Irene’s arrival. 

While some rivers have already crested, or reached their highest levels, other rivers are still expected to rise. 

Immediately after the worst of the storm had passed, USGS hydrologists from North Carolina to Maine deployed to measure high-water marks at rivers and streams and to verify high river flows and peak stages.  The crews also calibrated and repaired streamgages damaged by the storm to ensure they continued to transmit information in real time to users working to protect lives and property. 

To date, records have been set on rivers and streams in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont.

The USGS, in cooperation with state and federal agencies, operates a nationwide network of more than 7,000 streamgages on inland rivers and streams. These gauges provide real-time data important to the National Weather Service, FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other state and local partners involved in issuing flood and evacuation warnings, coordinating emergency responses to communities, and operating flood-control reservoirs. 

Real-time information from these streamgages are available online.

Flooding information and records known so far:

  • In Delaware, records were set on the St. Jones River and the Beaverdam Branch at Houston
  • In Maine, the fastest flowing water was recorded on the border with New Hampshire, with at least one record peak flow on the Wild River
  • In Maryland, records were seen on the Choptank River, James Run and St. Clement Creek
  • In Massachusetts, records were seen at several streamgages
  • In New Hampshire and Vermont, record peaks were measured in the Merrimack, Connecticut, Hudson and St. Lawrence River basins
  • In New Jersey, numerous streamgages have measured record peaks, with major flooding on the Passaic River
  • In New York, many streamgages have measured record peaks
  • In Pennsylvania, several streamgages measured record peaks
  • In Virginia, the Blackwater River, near Franklin, was measured above flood stage

This monitoring is part of the federal government’s broad efforts to ensure public safety to support the state, tribal, and local response to the storm.

For more information on being prepared for storms go to

USGS Newsroom

More information

Parameter Value Description
Magnitude mb The magnitude for the event.
Longitude ° East Decimal degrees longitude. Negative values for western longitudes.
Latitude ° North Decimal degrees latitude. Negative values for southern latitudes.
Depth km Depth of the event in kilometers.
Place Textual description of named geographic region near to the event. This may be a city name, or a Flinn-Engdahl Region name.
Time 1970-01-01 00:00:00 Time when the event occurred. UTC/GMT
Updated 1970-01-01 00:00:00 Time when the event was most recently updated. UTC/GMT
Timezone offset Timezone offset from UTC in minutes at the event epicenter.
Felt The total number of felt reports
CDI The maximum reported intensity for the event.
MMI The maximum estimated instrumental intensity for the event.
Alert Level The alert level from the PAGER earthquake impact scale. Green, Yellow, Orange or Red.
Review Status Indicates whether the event has been reviewed by a human.
Tsunami This flag is set to "1" for large events in oceanic regions and "0" otherwise. The existence or value of this flag does not indicate if a tsunami actually did or will exist.
SIG A number describing how significant the event is. Larger numbers indicate a more significant event.
Network The ID of a data contributor. Identifies the network considered to be the preferred source of information for this event.
Sources A comma-separated list of network contributors.
Number of Stations Used The total number of Number of seismic stations which reported P- and S-arrival times for this earthquake.
Horizontal Distance Horizontal distance from the epicenter to the nearest station (in degrees).
Root Mean Square sec The root-mean-square (RMS) travel time residual, in sec, using all weights.
Azimuthal Gap The largest azimuthal gap between azimuthally adjacent stations (in degrees).
Magnitude Type The method or algorithm used to calculate the preferred magnitude for the event.
Event Type Type of seismic event.
Event ID Id of event.
Event Code An identifying code assigned by, and unique from, the corresponding source for the event.
Event IDS A comma-separated list of event ids that are associated to an event.

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