Flood Warnings

What's the difference between a flood watch and a warning?
Flood Watches and Warnings
Explains this terminology and how to respond
lood warnings and other severe weather information for the STC region are provided by the Binghamton Weather Forecast Office of the National Weather Service (NWS). Current river observations and forecasts are available from the NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.

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.

Who Uses Stream Gauge Data? 
Presentation by Janet Thigpen, STC Flood Mitigation Specialist, at "Stream Gauges ~ Follow the Flow" Congressional Briefings on May 2, 2014 (hosted by the US Geological Survey). Ms. Thigpen stressed the importance of long-term stream gauge data and shared examples of how streamflow information is used in the STC region.

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


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