USGS scientists tracking Hurricane Bret's effects

August 23, 1999

Heavy tropical rains may bring some relief to long dry spell

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey in Texas are working with local, state and federal officials to provide near real-time flood data in the wake of Hurricane Bret to emergency managers and others who then use the data to make decisions on evacuations and water management.

As Bret struck the Texas coast Sunday evening, real-time streamflow gages tracked storm runoff from 15 sites in south Texas including two newly installed stations. Those stations, which were installed this year on the Los Olmos Creek and the San Fernando Creek in cooperation with the State of Texas Water De

velopment Board, were directly in the storm's path. "The system didn't produce as much rain as expected," said USGS hydrologist George Ozuna in San Antonio. "There has not been a significant amount of runoff yet either. We've had a continuous spell of 100-degree days and we have very dry soils. We've had below-normal rainfall in this area. It's been a very hot, dry August. Most of the rain that has fallen so far has gone right into the soil."

But Texas may not be out of the woods yet, Ozuna said. Additional rainfall may run off and cause flash flooding.

In addition to providing real-time surface-water data -- continuously relayed during the storm to satellites from its network of streamflow gaging stations -- the USGS is coordinating with other federal agencies involved in hurricane response activities. USGS is providing its real-time data to the National Weather Service for use in flood forecasting and other activities. This real-time information, in addition to USGS topographic maps, is crucial for local officials having to make timely decisions about evacuating people in flood-prone areas.

As the storm moves inland, USGS data collection platforms are being used by the International Boundary and Waters Commission to monitor the streamflows in the Rio Grande basin in south Texas, to determine if Bret has any effects on those streams and if any flooding possibilities exist. The IBWC, made up of representatives from the United States and Mexico has responsibility for the Rio Grande River. One of the primary missions of the USGS streamflow gaging network is to monitor streams and alert local officials about hazards from either too much, or too little water.

In coming days, USGS scientists will also be examining Padre Island National Seashore and other areas to study coastal erosion on the barrier island; measuring the effects of the storm on wildlife and habitat; studying any water-quality impacts; measuring storm surge.

As the nation's largest water, earth and biological science and civilian mapping agency the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2000 organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial, scientific information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the loss of life and property from natural disasters, contribute to sound economic and physical development of the nation's natural resources, and enhance the quality of life by monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.
In-depth information about USGS programs may be found on the USGS home page at . To receive the latest USGS news releases automatically by e-mail, send a request to . Specify the listserver(s) of interest from the following names: water-pr; geologic- hazards-pr; biological-pr; mapping-pr; products-pr; lecture-pr. In the body of the message write: subscribe (name of listserver) (your name). Example: water-pr joe smith.

US Geological Survey

Related Water Articles from Brightsurf:

Transport of water to mars' upper atmosphere dominates planet's water loss to space
Instead of its scarce atmospheric water being confined in Mars' lower atmosphere, a new study finds evidence that water on Mars is directly transported to the upper atmosphere, where it is converted to atomic hydrogen that escapes to space.

Water striders learn from experience how to jump up safely from water surface
Water striders jump upwards from the water surface without breaking it.

'Pregnancy test for water' delivers fast, easy results on water quality
A new platform technology can assess water safety and quality with just a single drop and a few minutes.

Something in the water
Between 2015 and 2016, Brazil suffered from an epidemic outbreak of the Zika virus, whose infections occurred throughout the country states.

Researchers create new tools to monitor water quality, measure water insecurity
A wife-husband team will present both high-tech and low-tech solutions for improving water security at this year's American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Seattle on Sunday, Feb.

The shape of water: What water molecules look like on the surface of materials
Water is a familiar substance that is present virtually everywhere.

Water, water everywhere -- and it's weirder than you think
Researchers at The University of Tokyo show that liquid water has 2 distinct molecular arrangements: tetrahedral and non-tetrahedral.

What's in your water?
Mixing drinking water with chlorine, the United States' most common method of disinfecting drinking water, creates previously unidentified toxic byproducts, says Carsten Prasse from Johns Hopkins University and his collaborators from the University of California, Berkeley and Switzerland.

How we transport water in our bodies inspires new water filtration method
A multidisciplinary group of engineers and scientists has discovered a new method for water filtration that could have implications for a variety of technologies, such as desalination plants, breathable and protective fabrics, and carbon capture in gas separations.

Source water key to bacterial water safety in remote Northern Australia
In the wet-dry topics of Australia, drinking water in remote communities is often sourced from groundwater bores.

Read More: Water News and Water Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to