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Smart Phones Know When Rivers Rise…with USGS WaterAlert



Smart Phones Know When Rivers Rise…with USGS WaterAlert

Sign up at http://water.usgs.gov/wateralert.

 Sample image showing a text message from WaterAlert providing current river information.
Sample showing a text message from WaterAlert providing current river information.

You can receive a text or email from the USGS when waters are rising in rivers and streams near you. The service is called WaterAlert. It allows you to receive notifications about water levels at any of over 7,000 USGS real-time streamgages around the country. There is no cost to users for this notification service. 

“USGS WaterAlert provides current river information to people in harm’s way,” said Bill Werkheiser, USGS associate director for water. “WaterAlert can be used by emergency managers and the general public alike as a first alert for a developing flood.”

To sign up go to WaterAlert and select a specific site. Users then select the preferred delivery method (email or text), whether they want hourly or daily notifications about river data, and the specific water levels at which they want to be notified. Users can set the system to alert them when conditions are above a value, below a value, and between or outside a range of values. 

From historic flooding on the Mississippi River, to relentless floods in the northern Midwest region, and now to devastating floods in the Northeast caused by Hurricane Irene, many areas of the country have already been impacted by floods in 2011. 

WaterAlert also allows users to receive updates about groundwater levels, water temperatures, rainfall and water quality at sites where USGS collects real-time water information. 

The USGS operates an extensive, real-time water information network for water resources in each state. USGS Water Science Centers in each state can provide more detailed information on water conditions and USGS response to local events.

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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