PROGRAMS & PLANS--Flood emergency coordination

In Reply Refer To:                        February 5, 1980
WGS-Mail Stop 415


Subject:  PROGRAMS & PLANS--Flood emergency coordination

The Geological Survey received an inordinate amount of attention 
in Mississippi newspapers for its role during the Easter Flood of 
1979 on the Pearl River.  The source for the bad publicity was a 
GAO report, "Improvements Being Made in Flood Fighting 
Capabilities in the Jackson, Mississippi, Area," dated
December 18, 1979.

One of the criticisms in the GAO report concerned the lack of 
formalized coordination among Federal agencies, the Geological 
Survey and National Weather Service in particular, prior to and 
during the flood of April 1979 on the Pearl River at Jackson.  A 
most serious criticism dealt with conflicting predictions of the 
expected flood crest by the NWS, GS, and the USCE, and the claim 
that each agency based its crest estimate on a different rating. 
In addition, the report cited instances of incomplete, inaccurate, 
and untimely data.

For the most part, these deficiencies are traced to poor 
coordination and communication among the Federal agencies and with 
State and local officials.  In retrospect, there is little doubt 
that we could have been better prepared.  The criticism leveled at 
GS and publicized by the press is, in our opinion, unwarranted.  
It is unfortunate that much exceptional work during the emergency 
by the GS District office in Jackson is overshadowed by the 
reaction of the press to the report.  Nevertheless, there is a 
lesson to be learned.

To benefit from the Mississippi experience, each District is 
instructed to take the following measures:

1.  Review, and modify as necessary, the written District flood 
plan to make certain that adequate provisions have been made 
for coordination and communication during flood emergencies 
with FEMA, NWS, USCE, and other Federal, State, and local 
agencies as appropriate. It will be advisable to document 
other agency individuals to contact and to identify gages and 
points of mutual interest and concern.

2.  Make certain that the flood plan calls for a complete log of 
flood information requests and the responses.

3.  Review the ratings furnished to the NWS Flood Forecast 
Centers, with special emphasis on those that we extended for 
NWS during a 1974-76 project.  A list of the 1974-76 NWS 
rating extension sites is enclosed.  If there has been a 
significant change in channel or flood plain, or if additional 
data indicates a rating change, notify your Regional 
Hydrologist, with a copy to SWB, and indicate your 
recommendation for updating the rating.

                                    Harry H. Barnes, Jr.
                                    Chief, Surface Water Branch

This memorandum supersedes no existing memorandum.

WRD Distribution:  A, B, FO-L


State             Furnished        Gaging Station

Alaska             5-16-74    Chena River at Fairbanks
                      "       Chena River near Two Rivers
                      "       Litte Chena River near Fairbanks
                      "       Tanana River at Nenana
                      "       Tanana River near Tanacross
                      "       Yukon River at Eagle
                   7-10-74    Koyukuk River at Hughes
                      "       Kuskokwim River at Crooked Creek
                      "       Kuskokwim River at McGrath
                      "       Yukon River at Ruby

Arizona            9-26-74    Little Colorado River at Holbrook
                      "       Little Colorado River at Woodruff
                      "       Verde River below Tangle Creek, above Horseshoe Dam

California          7-1-74    Eel River at Fort Seward
                      "       Eel River at Scotia
                      "       Klamath River near Klamath
                      "       Los Angeles River at Downy
                      "       Sacramento River at Sacramento
                      "       San Joaquin River near Newman
                      "       San Joaquin River ner Vernalis
                      "       Santa Clara River at Los Angeles-Ventura County line.

Colorado           10-4-74    Animas River at Durango
                      "       Colorado River near Cameo
                      "       Colorado River near Dotsero
                      "       Colorado River below Glenwood Springs
                      "       Dolores River at Doloris
                      "       Eagle River below Gypsum
                      "       Roaring Fork at Glenwood Springs
                      "       South Platte River at Denver

Connecticut        9-23-74    Connecticut River at Bodkin Rock near Middletown
                      "       Farmington River at Tariffville

Florida             5-2-74    Suwanee River at Ellaville

Georgia            7-12-74    Chattahoochee River at West Point
                      "       Flint River at Newton
                      "       Ocmulgee River at Macon
                      "       Ogeechee River near Eden

Idaho              6-24-74    Boise River at Boise
                      "       Coer d'Alene River at Enaville
                      "       St. Joe River at Calder
State             Furnished        Gaging Station

Iowa              12-18-74    Mississippi River at Keokuk
                      "       Missouri River at Omaha, Neb.
                      "       Nishnabotna River above Hamburg

Kansas             11-7-74    Arkansas River at Arkansas City
                      "       Arkansas River at Hutchinson
                      "       Cow Creek near Lyons
                      "       Kansas River at DeSoto
                      "       Kansas River at Topeka
                      "       Smokey Hill River at Enterprise
                      "       Solomon River at Niles
                   3-24-76    Arkansas River at Garden City
                      "       Kansas River at Fort Riley
                      "       Kansas River at Wamego

Louisiana          6-21-74    Amite River at Denham Springs
                      "       Red River at Alexandria
                    1-6-76    Pearl River near Bogalusa

Maryland            7-5-74    Potomac River near Washington, D.C.
                   11-8-74    Potomac River at Point of Rocks

Massachusetts      7-30-74    Connecticut River at Montague City
                      "       Merrimack River below Concord River, at Lowell
                      "       (See New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)

Michigan           5-28-74    Kalamazoo River at Battle Creek

Minnesota           8-7-74    Minnesota River at Mankato
                      "       Mississippi River at St. Paul

Mississippi       10-29-74    Pascagoula River at Merrill
                      "       Pearl River at Columbia
                      "       Pearl River at Jackson
                      "       Pearl River at Monticello
                      "       Tallahalla Creek at Laurel
                      "       Yazoo River at Greenwood

Missouri            8-2-74    Blue River near Kansas City
                      "       Little Platte River at Smithville
                      "       Mississippi River at Chester, Ill.
                      "       Mississippi River at St. Louis
                      "       Missouri River at Kansas City

Nebraska            9-9-74    Platte River near South Bend

New Hampshire      7-30-74    Connecticut River at North Walpole
                      "       Merrimack River at Franklin Junction
                      "       Pemigewasset River at Plymouth

State             Furnished        Gaging Station

New Jersey         9-25-74    Delaware River at Trenton
                      "       Raritan River at Bound Brook

New York           8-22-74    Chemung River at Chemung
                      "       Hudson River at Green Island
                      "       Mohawk River at Cohoes

North Carolina     8-29-74    French Broad River at Asheville
                      "       French Broad River at Blantyre

North Dakota       6-19-74    Souris River above Minot
                   3-24-76    Heart River near Mandon
                      "       Souris River near Sherwood

Oklahoma          11-22-74    Chickaskia River at Blackwell
                      "       Cimarron River at Perkins
                      "       Neosho River at Commerce
                      "       Red River near Arthur City, Tex.

Pennsylvania       3-22-74    Allegheny River at Franklin
                      "       Allegheny River at Kittanning
                      "       Allegheny River at Natrona
                      "       Allegheny River at Parker
                      "       Monongahela River at Braddock
                      "       Monongahela River at Charlerol
                      "       Monongahela River at Greensboro
                      "       Schuylkill River at Pottstown
                      "       Susquehanna River at Sunbury
                      "       Susquehanna River at Wilkes-Barre
                      "       West Branch Susquehanna River at Williamsport
                      "       Youghiogheny River at Connellsville

Rhode Island       7-30-74    Blackstone River at Woonsocket

South Carolina     10-1-74    Congaree River at Columbia

South Dakota       1-22-76    Rapid Creek at Rapid Creek

Texas              6-18-74    Canadian River near Canadian
                      "       East Fork Trinity River near Crandall
                      "       Guadalupe River at Cuero
                   6-18-74    Medina River at San Antonio
                      "       Navasota River near Bryan
                      "       Red River near DeKalb
                      "       San Antonio River near Falls City
                      "       Trinity River near Crookett
                      "       Trinity River near Dakwood
                      "       Trinity River at Trinidad
                      "       West Fork Trinity River at Grand Prairie

State             Furnished        Gaging Station

Vermont           12-10-75    Connecticut River at Wells River
                      "       Connecticut River at White River Junction

Virginia           9-24-74    James River at Cartersville
                   11-1-74    Meherrin River near Lawrenceville
                  12-11-74    Roanoke River at Roanoke

Washington          8-9-74    Naches River near Naches
                      "       Sauk River near Sauk
                      "       Skagit River near Concrete
                      "       Skagit River near Mount Vernon
                      "       Snohomish River at Snohomish
                      "       Yakima River at Cle Elum
                      "       Yakima River near Parker

Wisconsin          1-22-76    Chippawa River at Durand