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Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center -- Louisiana

Picture of USGS employee in a Louisiana swamp.
Hardened Gages—Built to Survive

1 June 2010

Hardened gage in Caillou Lake (Sister Lake). Picture taken from the deck of the construction vessel.

Hurricane season starts today, and the USGS Lower Mississippi Gulf Water Science Center is committed to collecting and providing the most up-to-date information before, during, and after the storms that are sure to come our way. When a hurricane or tropical storm is approaching, accurate and timely storm data are crucial in making good decisions regarding personal safety and property protection. With the additional problems associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, these decisions are more important than ever. We maintain an extensive network of data-collection platforms (DCP) on or near the coast that gathers critical hydrologic and meteorological data, and we make this data available in near real-time on our NWISWeb web site.

Hardened Gage Characteristics

Although the USGS operates many coastal or near-coastal gages that provide valuable information during a hurricane, most of them are not built to withstand the full fury of a major storm. However, there are ten hardened gages designed specifically to withstand these conditions. These ten sites are spread out along the Louisiana and Mississippi coast from the Mississippi Sound to Vermilion Bay. The hardened gages are much larger structures than most gages. The gage equipment is installed on a 10 foot by 10 foot platform on the top of a 90-foot long, 3 foot diameter steel pipe driven 60 feet into the gulf bottom, making the equipment approximately 30+ feet above the normal water surface. The instruments at these gages collect a wide variety of data which may include stage, specific conductance, salinity, water and air temperatures, wind speed and direction, precipitation, and barometric pressure.

Hardened Site Locations

For more hurricane-related information and links, check out our Hurricane Information web page. This page contains links to USGS hurricane-related publications and web pages, as well as links to hurricane data from other agencies.

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