USGS installing storm-tide sensors along Puerto Rico for Isaac
SAN JUAN – Hurricane response crews from the U.S. Geological Survey are installing storm-tide sensors at key locations in Puerto Rico from Cabo Rojo to Naguabo in advance of Hurricane Isaac. Under a mission assignment from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) , the USGS plans to deploy about 20 sensors along the island’s coast
“Storm surge is among the most dangerous natural hazards unleashed by hurricanes, with the capacity to destroy homes and businesses, wipe out roads, bridges, water and sewer systems, and profoundly alter coastal landscapes. The USGS has experts on these hazards, state-of-the-science computer models for forecasting coastal change, and sophisticated equipment for monitoring actual flood and tide conditions,” the agency’s release reads.
The sensors being installed to measure Isaac’s storm tide are “housed in vented steel pipes a few inches wide and about a foot long. They are being installed on bridges, piers, and other structures that have a good chance of surviving the storm. The information the sensors collect will help define the depth and duration of a storm surge, as well as the time of its arrival and retreat.”
That information is intended to help public officials “assess storm damage, discern between wind and flood damage, and improve computer models used to forecast future floods.”
Information on the storm-tide sensor deployment and the incoming data will be available on the USGS “Flood Event Viewer” at https://stn.wim.usgs.gov/FEV/#IsaacSep2018.
In addition to the sensors, the USGS said “one rapid deployment gauge will also be installed on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. These specialized gauges can be quickly installed on bridges to provide real-time information on water levels to provide critical information to the National Weather Service, FEMA and other USGS partners involved in issuing flood and evacuation warnings and in coordinating emergency responses to communities.”
The USGS studies the impacts of hurricanes and tropical storms to better understand potential impacts on coastal areas.