Tracking the rise and fall of floods - Tucson News Now

Tracking the rise and fall of floods

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

As rain pours down, the water levels in washes, creeks, streams, and rivers can go up dramatically in Southeast Arizona. The consequences can be deadly for people caught in flash floods or for those that choose to drive into the flood waters.  

Flash Flood and Flood Watches or Warnings are issued for the area by the local National Weather Service Office. In Tucson, that office is located on the University of Arizona campus and is staffed 24 hours a day. The meteorologists on duty at the time of the storms both track rain total estimates on radar and reports from National Weather Service spotters and emergency officials. These meteorologists use the information to determine if a Flash Flood Warning needs to be issued for an area.  

Another way to track flooding is through streamflow gauges. These are instruments placed on washes and rivers that measure how much water is flowing through a waterway and/or how high that water flow is at any given time. Three websites often used to track streamflow here in Southeast Arizona are the Pima County Regional Flood Control District's ALERT webpage, the USGS Streamflow webpage, and the NOAA River Observations webpage. All three of these webpages have interactive maps where you can access data from the gauges. 

Check out the pages and familiarize yourself with how the data is presented. By clicking on some of the stations represented in the maps, you can gather more in-depth information about the flood danger. Stay safe during the monsoon and avoid flooded washes and roadways. Turn around, don't drown. 

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