Updated 03/18/2013 05:29 PM
Funding found for flood gauges along the Susquehanna River
To prevent future devastation, the Southern Tier is getting the funding it needs for the best possible flood warnings. As our Melissa Kakareka tells us, after months of uncertainty, much needed money was found to pay for the gauges that monitor streams and rivers in the Susquehanna River Basin.
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SOUTHERN TIER, N.Y. -- When the National Weather Service is making river models, river and stream gauges provide the data necessary to predict flooding and warn the public.
"Having the gauges is critical to forecasting river flooding. It goes into our river models. We monitor how high the rivers are going. It's just vital to really providing early warnings," National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Dave Nicosia.
But in recent months, officials feared the gauges in the Susquehanna River Basin would be shut down unless $215,000 was secured to keep them operational. The gauges were slated to shut off on March 1st, but that deadline was later extended until June 1st.
Monday, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will pay for the gauges through the end of the year. The administration will use funds from the $25 million given to them through the Sandy supplemental bill.
"The total cost of flood gauges on rivers like the Susquehanna and the Chenango is only a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year. So I was kind of appalled when NOAA, the agency in charge, was going to pull them back. I lobbied the head of NOAA and today we got the good news that the gauges are going to be reinstated. It's a small cost and huge savings in terms of the warnings," said Senator Charles Schumer.
The National Weather Service says keeping these gauges online helps provide the best forecasting possible.
"We try our best but we can only do so much with what we have, so having the gauges will allow us to continue to provide the service we've provided," said Nicosia.
It's money that will help save lives and keep communities safer from the dangers of flooding.
The funding affects 18 stream gauges and 16 rain gauges in and around the Susquehanna River Basin.