Minnesota Enhanced Flood Forecast/Warning System

 

 

Background

Thirty-eight stream gages were installed statewide, and five gages of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) were upgraded as a result of a federal/state grant that was obtained by the Minnesota Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM, formerly known as the Division of Emergency Management, or DEM). The grant request (valued at almost $1 million) was submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Minnesota State Legislature in response to extreme flooding events in the 1990's, which would have been less damaging with more data available in the affected watersheds. An interagency task force, which primarily consisted of HSEM, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the National Weather Service (NWS), and the USGS, surveyed flood-prone communities to determine their willingness to participate in improving their response to flooding. The task force then prioritized the potential sites based on the need for more data in specific watersheds.

This project demonstrates cooperation between the agencies and communities:

  • NWS uses the data to improve flood forecasting, and they will maintain the gages.
  • HSEM will maintain a computerized duty officer station that will warn duty officers not only of flooding but also of other weather-related hazardous events.
  • DNR has agreed to archive river and precipitation data, is helping with on-site data collection and gage maintenance, and will provide for equipment replacement.
  • USGS, through a contract funded by the grant, installed the gages, and provided expertise in gage maintenance and data storage.
  • Local communities are performing light maintenance at the sites that benefit them, are paying monthly telephone bills when they opt for a telephone line, and are updating their emergency response to include the gage information in their planning.

 

Gage Details

Each gage is equipped with satellite telemetry to provide real-time information to the NWS, local officials, HSEM, DNR, USGS, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Optional telephone lines allow the gage to call predesignated local officials of impending flooding conditions.

Specifics on each stream gage, and near real time data, can be found here.

Contact

For more information, contact Lisa Pearson, DNR Waters, (651) 259-5655, lisa.pearson@state.mn.us