|What's the difference between a flood watch and a warning?|
Local radio and television stations that disseminate flood warnings through the Emergency Alert System are: WENY-FM, WKPQ-FM, WNKI-FM, WFLR-AM/FM, WENY-TV, and WETM-TV. Another way to monitor local weather information and receive warnings is from NOAA Weather Radio, a nationwide network of stations that broadcast continuous weather information. A special radio receiver or scanner is needed to pick up the signal. Local emergency personnel encourage use of NOAA weather radios to receive hazard information, as described in a newsletter article, Warning the Public with NOAA Weather Radio. Broadcast frequencies and other information are available from the National Weather Service NOAA Weather Radio website.
Depending on the location and storm characteristics, the warning time for a flood can range from no warning for flash flooding on small streams to several hours for riverine flooding. There may be additional warning time for flooding of the Finger Lakes.
Stream gauge data are essential for developing reliable flood warnings. A nationwide gauge network is operated by the US Geological Survey (USGS) and financed through cooperative funding programs. (Read a newsletter article about funding for Stream, Lake, and Tidal Gauges in New York.) Real-time and historical water level data and other information about the USGS gauge network are available from the National Water Information System.
The local Flood Warning Service of Environmental Emergency Services supplements the information and resources available through federal agencies. This non-profit organization operates a local gauge network that provides real-time information about stream, river, and lake levels; precipitation; and other weather conditions. During flood events, conditions are monitored by volunteers who support emergency operations in the three STC counties. This cooperative program is described in a newsletter article (Flood Warning System Expands to Include Schuyler County) and on the Environmental Emergency Services website.
Environmental Emergency Services gauge on Keuka Lake