Monday, May 11, 2015

Anatomy of the flood

Lincoln's flooding on Thursday of last week had a few positives, too, at least from my persepective. First, the Antelope Valley Project--which has been the target of plenty of slings and arrows over the past 20 years for the five mayors who helped propel it forward--decisively proved its worth. I have no doubt that we avoided a huge urban flooding nightmare, and tens of millions in damage.

Second, it was a good opportunity to thoroughly exercise the Emergency Operating Center--since it relocated a few years ago to 233 S. 10th Street. One of the remarkable changes from my last stint in the EOC was our ability to use the City's network of pan-zoom-tilt traffic cameras to monitor events, along with such resources as GIS mapping applications projected on the walls. It was a far cry then the windowless room in the basement of the County-City Building, where you're only connection to reality outside was the radio. We were able to get great streaming video of many trouble spots.

Third, it was an opportunity for me to get acquainted with Glenn Johnson, the general manager of the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District, aka the NRD. I learned a lot from listening to Glenn last week, a soft-spoken guy who clearly knows his stuff. His information about the Salt Creek levee system, the watershed, the stream gauges, sand boils, channel work, tributaries, and so forth was both useful and interesting. I became particularly interested in the systems for monitoring flood conditions, which include physical observation by NRD employees walking the levees, and remote monitoring of flow rates and water levels.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (say that three times fast) publishes data from stream gauges nationwide. This one, located in Salt Creek a bit north of Cornhusker Highway, will provide you with the anatomy of the flood for a couple more days, until the date window of May 6-8 scrolls off the page. You can hover your mouse over the blue points on the graph, and see the readings at each time interval.

Down at the lower left of the page, check out the section for "Historic Crests." Our 28.8 ft. crest at about 4:00 PM on May 7 is the highest since July 6, 1908--same summer the Cubs were on their way to the World Series pennant.


ARRRRG!!!! said...

I finally got to sail my pirate ship on Salt Creek.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link to the flood maps Director. My house would have been underwater before the Antelope Creek Project and before the week end it may still be. I have my Smart Phone set up to notify me of potential dangers. Ain't technology great?
Gun Nut