U.S. Geological Survey response to flooding in Texas, May–June 2015

Fact Sheet 2016-3027
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Abstract

As a Federal science agency within the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collects and disseminates streamflow stage and discharge information along with other types of water information as a major part of its Water mission area. Data collected at USGS streamflow-gaging stations (hereinafter referred to as “streamgages”) are used for a variety of purposes including flood warning, engineering design, management of water resources, and scientific research.

During flood events, the need for timely, accurate, and complete streamflow data is underscored because these data are relied on by local, State, and Federal emergency management personnel for flood response purposes. For example, the National Weather Service uses the data from USGS streamgages to develop flood forecasts for specific locations on a river. Tasks that the USGS performs in response to floods include monitoring the operation of gages and responding to any interruptions in data collection, calibrating and verifying stage-discharge ratings, and documenting extreme events including peak stage and peak discharge.

Frequent, severe storms during May and June 2015 caused widespread flooding in Texas. By various measures, the storms that caused the flooding were extreme and persistent. May 2015 was the wettest month on record for Texas, with a statewide average precipitation of 9.06 inches. In comparison, the long-term statewide average monthly precipitation is 3.37 inches, with the previous record average monthly precipitation reported as 6.66 inches during June 2004. The Office of the Texas State Climatologist compiled monthly precipitation amounts for 19 selected cities throughout Texas and for 1 city in Louisiana; the total monthly precipitation amounts exceeded the monthly normal precipitation for 18 of the 19 selected cities in Texas, with 5 of these cities exceeding their previous record for the month of May.

The onset of abundant precipitation in May 2015 resulted in the National Weather Service flood stage being exceeded at USGS streamgages on numerous rivers. The widespread and prolonged nature of the flooding was unusual; most flood events in Texas are localized, typically affecting only one or two river basins and generally lasting only a few days. With the exception of the Rio Grande, flooding was widespread in all of the major rivers in Texas during May–June 2015.

Suggested Citation

East, J.W., 2016, U.S. Geological Survey response to flooding in Texas, May–June 2015: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016–3027, 4 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20163027.

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

ISSN: 2327-6916 (print)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Operation of Gages
  • Verifying Stage-Discharge Ratings
  • Shifting Stage-Discharge Rating Curves
  • Extending Stage-Discharge Rating Curves
  • Peak Stage and Discharge
  • References

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title U.S. Geological Survey response to flooding in Texas, May–June 2015
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 2016-3027
DOI 10.3133/fs20163027
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Texas Water Science Center
Description 4 p.
Country United States
State Texas
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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