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USGS deploying high-tech tools to aid in flood forecasting

HERMANN, MO (KTVI) - The Spring flood season will be here before you know it and the U.S. Geological Survey is gearing up to keep tabs on our area rivers. The USGS installs and maintains the vast majority of river gauges across the country.  This year they have a new tool.  They are installing webcams on some rivers to get a bird’s-eye view of what is going on down on the water below.

USGS Supervising Hydrologist, Paul Rydlund, says the new webcams will be very helpful when it comes to getting an accurate picture of the current state of the river.  “A picture is worth a thousand words.  If we have our gauge hit or river level has a funny look to it or a funny signature that we are not used to seeing, that’s something we can evaluate.”  It is a much more accurate picture than just looking at numbers back on a computer in the office.

The webcam is also available for public use.  You can see the images for yourself by checking out their website.

Another webcam will be added to the Fenton gauge on the Meramec River later this year.

In addition to the webcam, the USGS deploys a high tech remote control boat that can go places people cannot.  This boat is outfitted with a special sounding device that can quickly and efficiently map the flow of the river and provide a detailed look at the depth of the river in only a matter of minutes.  This data is helpful for river engineers and those responsible for dredging, tracking runoff and other potential environmentally important features.