The maps and graphs appearing in this summary describe streamflow conditions for water-year 2008 (October 1, 2007 to September 30, 2008) in the context of the 79-year period 1930-2008, unless otherwise noted. The illustrations are based on observed data from the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) National Streamflow Information Program. The period 1930-2008 was used because prior to 1930, the number of streamgages was too small to provide representative data for computing statistics for most regions of the country.
In the summary, reference is made to the term "runoff," which is the depth to which a river basin, State, or other geographic area would be covered with water if all the streamflow within the area during a single year was uniformly distributed upon it. Runoff quantifies the magnitude of water flowing through the Nation's rivers and streams in measurement units that can be compared from one area to another. The runoff value for a geographic area is computed as the median runoff value for all streamgages in that geographic area. For example, the runoff value for a State is the median for all streamgages in that State, and the median for the Nation is the median value for all streamgages in the Nation.
Each of the maps and graphs below can be expanded to a larger view by clicking on the image. In all the graphics, a rank of 1 indicates the highest flow of all years analyzed.