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Potomac Flow Sets New January Record, Flow Below Normal In 1995
Released: 2/28/1996

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


  • Flow of the Potomac River set a new all-time high January record of 34.5 billion gallons per day (bgd), nearly five times times the long-term January average of 7 bgd,in response to the heavy snows and rains that fell month-long, according to hydrologists at the U.S. Geological Survey.
  • Last month’s peak, or instantaneous flow of 211 bgd is the highest since the rains from Hurricane Agnes in June 1972 resulted in a flow of 232 bgd.
  • In contrast, average flow of the Potomac in 1995 was below-normal at about 6 billion gallons per day (bgd), about 15 percent less than the long-term annual average flow of 7.2 bgd.
  • Freshwater inflow to the Chesapeake Bay was also below normal in 1995, about 42 bgd, 16 percent less than the long-term average inflow of 49.5 bgd.
  • In January, freshwater inflow to the Chesapeake Bay was 158 bgd, a new record high,nearly three times the normal amount of 56 bgd.
  • During 1995, daily Potomac flows near the District varied from a low of 1.1 bgd on Sept.14, to a high of 55.2 bgd on Jan. 17.
  • Diversions of Potomac River water for municipal use averaged about 401 million gallons per day (mgd), an increase of 10 million gallons over the 1994 level of 391 mgd. o In January, municipal diversions of Potomac River water averaged about 386 mgd, about 16 mgd more than the 370 mgd in December 1995.

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