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USGS in Puerto Rico Keeps Watchful "Eye" on Hurricane Jose
Released: 10/19/1999

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Marion Fisher 1-click interview
Phone: 703-648-4583 | FAX: 703-648-4588

Today, as Hurricane Jose was upgraded from a tropical storm, the U. S. Geological Survey in Puerto Rico was monitoring the storm’s path and intensity very closely. If the hurricane threatens Puerto Rico later this week, as predicted, the USGS is prepared to provide critical information to local government and emergency management officials responsible for protecting the lives and property of Puerto Rican citizens.

The USGS maintains a network of 123 stream gaging stations in Puerto Rico that measure river stage and water discharge. The network transmits data via satellite to a receiving station in the USGS office in Guaynabo. During normal operations these stations transmit every four hours and the data is available to the public at http://dprsj1.er.usgs.gov.

In Puerto Rico, the information is used on a regular basis to forecast water availability for drinking in addition to agricultural and industrial uses. USGS streamflow data for all near "real-time" stations throughout the United States are available to the public at http://water.usgs.gov.

During storm events, the gaging stations go into an alert mode and transmit on a special channel every five minutes. The near real-time information is vital for emergency decisions by the Government of Puerto Rico. As soon as an instrument at one of the gaging stations detects a rapid rise in the stage of the river, indicating possible flooding, government officials have information available for making important emergency management decisions.

As in the past, the USGS is paying close attention to the Rio Grande de Loíza, which feeds the Carraizo Reservoir. At Lake Carraízo (Lago Loíza), an entire geographical network has been designed to collect precipitation data that is fed into a rainfall-runoff model predicting how much water will reach the reservoir. With this information, the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) can release flood waters at appropriate times in order to prevent the loss of life and property. Lake Carraízo is the major public water supply source for the San Juan metropolitan area.

The USGS serves the nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life.

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