Technology Tools for Flood Alerts

Because the community is in the middle of a massive flood clean-up and recovery effort, no one wants to think about the next time high waters will affect the area.  However, when one looks at the data, odds indicate that Bloomsburg will be faced with significant flooding again.  Here is the data related to flooding levels along the Susquehanna River near Bloomsburg since 2004 (flood stage at Bloomsburg is 19 feet):

  • September 19, 2004 – 27.1 feet.
  • January 15, 2005 – 20.5
  • March 30, 2005 – 21.4 feet
  • April 4, 2005 – 25.1 feet
  • June 28, 2006 – 28.6 feet
  • March 12, 2011 – 22.5 feet
  • April 29, 2011 22.2 feet
  • September 10, 2011 – 32.7 feet

(Courtesy of the Columbia County Emergency Management Agency)

While this may seem disheartening, there are now technology tools available to alert residents to potential flooding in the area. Any additional preparation time can obviously serve to mitigate losses and ensure the safety of residents.  Two services currently available include the Pennsylvania Alert System  and the Susquehanna River and Creek Alerts from the USGS.

The Pennsylvania Alert System can be set up to notify your email account, cell phone, or pager of any potential emergencies or weather alerts.  All you need to do is set up an account on PA.gov (if you don’t have one already) and identify which accounts you would like alerts sent to.  In addition to weather or emergency alerts, residents can also have health notifications, tax notifications, or building alerts sent too.

The Susquehanna River and Creek Alerts can be set up from the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) website.  To do this, simply go to the website, select “Pennsylvania,” and then choose from the options (surface water, ground water, rain fall, etc.).  The map will present you with various locations and gauges and when you find the one you are interested in, click the link to see current statistics and “subscribe” to that information.  You can then have the alert information sent to your mobile number or your email account and you can set parameters by which the information gets sent (e.g. notify my mobile number when the discharge numbers of this creek gets to a certain point).

While we can’t prevent future flooding, we can certainly attempt to be more prepared.