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.
Sign up at http://water.usgs.gov/wateralert.
USGS provides science for a changing world. Visit USGS.gov, and follow us on Twitter @USGS and our other social media channels.