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Stormproofing Water Data from Hurricane Irene

Stormproofing Water Data from Hurricane Irene

The USGS has a backup plan to ensure that emergency managers will continue to have quick access to vital water information for flood warnings and evaluation notices, even as Hurricane Irene threatens a critical communications hub at Wallops Island, Va., near Virginia Beach. Because the Wallops Island station is located near the coast and situated only about 15 feet above sea level it could be vulnerable.

To ensure the reliable distribution of continuous critical data in real time, a backup communications system known as the Emergency Data Distribution Network (EDDN) was established in 2008 by the USGS, NOAA, and other agencies at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science Center (USGS-EROS) in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This is the first time the system will be put to the test with the threat from a hurricane.

The EDDN runs concurrently with the Wallops Island system and is designed to automatically run independently if the Wallops Island, Va. communications system is damaged during a storm.  This ensures that emergency managers have uninterrupted access to the information they need. 

The USGS operates an extensive nationwide network with more than 7,000 streamgages that provides up-to-the-minute data essential in issuing flood warnings and community evacuations. This real-time water data from the streamgage network is routinely transmitted to the NOAA GOES satellite. The satellite then relays the transmissions to various satellite downlinks, where it is used by NOAA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other federal, state and local agencies.

Data on climate, weather, surface water, ground water, water quality and other measurements are transmitted through the GOES system. Many nations in the Caribbean and South America also rely on the Wallops Island station and the EDDN for their data delivery.

As USGS continues to take appropriate preparedness and response actions as Hurricane Irene develops over the coming days, the public is encouraged to visit or for tips on creating emergency plans and putting together an emergency supply kit.

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.

1 Comment

  1. earthquakes today


    It’s a nice article it will help my research.


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