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Near-Record Flooding Documented in Northeast
Released: 1/22/1996

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Rebecca Phipps 1-click interview
Phone: 703-648-4460

Flooding on major rivers in the northeastern U.S. during the past weekend, particularly in West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, produced near-record flows according to measurements by the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS scientists said that the Potomac River crested at a flow of 312,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) at Point of Rocks, Md., on Sunday (Jan. 21), near but not exceeding the level of 347,000 cfs reached in June of 1972 after rains from Hurricane Agnes. Downstream at Washington, D.C., the Potomac also crested on Sunday at 347,000 cfs.

On Sat., Jan. 20, the Susquehanna River at Harrisburg, Pa., crested at 570,000 cfs, well below the flow of 1 million cfs that was reached in June 1972 from Hurricane Agnes.

During floods, USGS flow data are used chiefly by the Corps of Engineers to manage water projects such as diversions, dams, locks and levees. The National Weather Service uses the data for flood warning and flood-forecasting purposes and the Federal Emergency Management Agency uses the data as part of its nationwide floodplain mapping and flood-insurance program.

A summary of flood stages and discharges for the Hudson, Delaware, Susquehanna, Alleghany, Ohio, Shenandoah, Potomac, and James Rivers is available from the the USGS Public Affairs Office (703) 648-4460.

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