In 2016, Virginia Beach residents and local emergency managers received new tools to monitor storm tides and flooding during hurricane season.
The 10 new tide gauges, installed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in cooperation with the city of Virginia Beach, became fully operational April 21st, 2016.
The tide gauges provide real time water height data which is invaluable to city administrators, emergency planners, and the public.
City officials will be able to use this data during future storms to make emergency decisions, such as road closures and evacuation orders, said Shaun Wicklein, a supervisory hydrologist with the USGS Virginia-West Virginia Water Science Center.
Tide gauge data can also be used by city planners to help protect the shoreline from erosion, and to better prepare city infrastructure for future flooding, he added.
The information gathered by the tide gauges, while always valuable, is most useful when the gauges are placed in prime locations to collect data. Therefore, the USGS and city of Virginia Beach worked together to pick the locations for these 10 tide monitoring stations based on their susceptibility to flooding caused by heavy rains and coastal storms.
While these tide gauges provide valuable data to the city of Virginia Beach, others will benefit from the information as well, which is available on the USGS National Water Information System webpage.
The water level and meteorological data these gauges share is used by the National Weather Service to assist with their flood warnings, and can help community and emergency planners determine the best evacuation routes, among other things.
Boaters, fishermen, and others heading to the beach will also find the information of use to determine conditions before they head to the shore.
source: U.S. Geological Survey
Published: June 25, 2016 | Updated: February 2, 2018