reThought Flood

March flood stage report

In the 26 days from March 1, 2024, at least 239 stream gages in 29 states were at or above “flood stage” at least once, and 51 were at more than 120% of flood stage. Georgia was the wettest state, with 64 gages reaching flood stage. Texas and Minnesota came second with 19 each, and New Jersey gets final-four honors with 18. 

River and Stream Flows Measurements

The primary sources of stream flow measurements, as reported by NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, are approximately 8,500 stream gages deployed by the US Geographical Survey. Initiated in 1888, the gages continue to be widely used for flood data. 

You can check your own local gages online, at Waterwatch

Gage vs Gauge

Why stream gage measurements, not stream gauges? In current usage, gage is a thickness measurement, while gauges measure other quantities.  

In 1888 the second director of USGS John Wesley Powell hired a very forward-thinking graduate student named Frederick Haynes Newell. He developed the measuring techniques and devices we use today.  Mr. Newell believed that gage was the correct spelling, and the addition of the silent “u” was an aberration. In honor (honour?) of this, USGS uses “gage” to this day.

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