U.S. Geological Survey Agency considering shutdown of flood warning system

WASHINGTON, D.C. – United States Senator Charles E. Schumer has demanded the U.S. Geological Survey Agency (USGS) keep flood gauges across the state up and running in case of future flooding like that which occurred following Tropical Storms Irene and Lee in 2011.

According to a Dec. 6 press release issued by the senator, the USGS is currently considering the closure of approximately 30 stream gauges statewide, including seven in Chenango County. Those gauges listed in the press release include the Unadilla River at Rockdale; the Susquehanna River at Bainbridge and the Chenango River at Sherburne, Oxford, Greene and Norwich.

Schumer called the gauges a key component in the state’s flood warning system, one that is often used to warn residents and business owners in low-lying areas with a history of flooding.

“Removing stream gauges on flood-prone bodies of water is like rebuilding a home after a fire and switching off the smoke detectors ... it makes absolutely no sense, especially after getting hammered by floods following Tropical Storms Lee and Irene,” said the senator. “These stream gauges are in constant use, helping first responders and local leaders make minute-by-minute decisions ... switching off these gauges would tie a hand behind our back during huge rain storms and during the spring when the snow melts.”

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