U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring record flooding on rivers and streams in 12 states across the country. USGS is making preparations for a prolonged field effort along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers as major flooding will extend well into mid-to-late January, particularly along the lower Mississippi River.
Since late December, USGS has measured more than 50 preliminary record-high flood measurements along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and their tributaries.
Currently, Missouri, Arkansas and Illinois are experiencing the most extreme flooding. Flooding in Missouri has caused 22 fatalities, hundreds of road closures and more than 1,000 power outages across the southern portion of the state. USGS crews are out in Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, and Arkansas making flood measurements of flooded streams, with extra concentration on those areas where levees have been overtopped and the collected data is so critical to public safety and preservation of property.
As the floodwaters move downstream, USGS is working to ensure field crews are deployed to areas necessary for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Weather Service and other flood response agencies. The Mississippi River is expected to crest in Memphis, Tennessee sometime around January 8, and flood crest will be arriving in in Louisiana in the January 14 to 17 time frame. A similar flood situation in the Mississippi River Basis occurred in 2011 where USGS river data became crucial to ensure responsible decisions by emergency managers.