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2011: The Year of the Flood

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Video Script

The Year of the Flood

- Final -



Script Date: Monday, August 08, 2011

Script Read Date: 8/9/11

Narrator: Debbie Grattan

Narration Studio: Sunspots

Writer: AB Wade, Kara Capelli, Jessica Robertson

Producer: Don Becker



Narrator: DEVASTATING FLOODS ACROSS MUCH OF THE U.S. WERE SEVERE AND UNRELENTING DURING THE SPRING AND SUMMER OF 2011. IN MORE THAN 15 STATES, RIVERS OVERFLOWED THEIR BANKS AND COMMUNITIES WERE FACED WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF CATASTROPHIC LOSSES. THE CONTINUAL, RISING FLOOD WATERS ON MAJOR RIVERS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY FORCED DECISION-MAKERS TO MAKE DIFFICULT CHOICES ON HOW BEST TO SAFEGUARD PROPERTY, REDUCE LOSSES AND LESSEN THE IMPACT OF THE RISING FLOOD WATERS.



AT THE USGS, WE KNOW THAT SCIENCE IS CRITICAL FOR FLOOD PREPARATIONS AND RESPONSE. SCIENCE FOR DECISION-MAKING BECAME VERY EVIDENT DURING THE EPIC FLOODS OF 2011.



HEN FLOODS HAPPEN, USGS CREWS ARE AMONG THE FIRST-RESPONDERS. OFTEN WORKING IN DANGEROUS CONDITIONS, USGS SCIENTISTS MEASURE STREAMFLOW AND RIVER LEVELS, REPAIR AND INSTALL STREAMGAGES, MEASURE WATER QUALITY, CHANGES IN SEDIMENT FLOW, AND ASSESS RIVER CHANGES.



THE USGS ALSO PRODUCES AERIAL AND SATELLITE IMAGES THAT SHOW THE SCOPE AND THE PATH OF THE FLOOD.



THIS INFORMATION IS CRUCIAL FOR COMMUNITIES WHERE FLOOD FORECASTS CAN MEAN LIFE OR DEATH.



Tom Graziano: THAT IS HOW THE USGS DATA WAS USED DURING THIS FLOOD, IN FACT, WE WORKED VERY CLOSELY WITH THE USGS, NOT ONLY IN THIS FLOOD, BUT ON ALL FLOODS. ON A ROUTINE, ON A DAILY BASIS THERE IS COORDINATION AND COLLABORATION BETWEEN USGS SCIENCE CENTERS, OUR RIVER FORECAST CENTERS AND WEATHER FORECAST OFFICES IN THE WEATHER SERVICE. THEY OFTEN TIMES GO OUT IN THE MIDST OF A FLOOD TO TAKE ADDITIONAL OBSERVATIONS, WHICH ARE CRITICAL TO GETTING THE FORECAST RIGHT. THEY DO POST-STORM FLOOD ANALYSIS WHERE THEY GO OUT AND TAKE HIGH WATER MARKS SO WE CAN ASSESS THE TRUE MEASURE OF A PARTICULAR FLOOD, AND THEY UTILIZE THAT INFORMATION TO EVEN DO A BETTER JOB OF FINE TUNING OUR MODELS SO FOR ANY SUBSEQUENT FLOODS, THEY ARE EVEN THAT MUCH BETTER CALIBRATED TO PROVIDE A MORE ACCURATE FORECAST IN THE FUTURE.



SO ITíS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL THAT YOU HAVE HIGH RESOLUTION, QUALITY INFORMATION, DATA BEING FED IN TO YOUR MODEL LIKE THE DATA THAT WE GET, THE STREAMGAGE DATA THAT WE GET FROM THE U. S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.



Narrator: THE USGS ROUTINELY MONITORS AND DOCUMENTS FLOODING AND PROVIDES THE STREAMFLOW INFORMATION NEEDED FOR FLOOD FORECASTING AND LAND USE DECISIONS TO MITIGATE FLOODS.



YET, THIS YEARíS EFFORT WAS EXTRAORDINARY FOR ITS SCOPE, INTENSITY, DURATION AND INNOVATIVE USE OF TECHNOLOGY.



THE USGS WORKED SIDE-BY-SIDE WITH THE ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS AS THEY MADE DIFFICULT DECISIONS ABOUT OPENING FLOOD-CONTROL RESERVOIRS, SPILLWAYS AND LEVEES IN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER BASIN.



Major General Walsh: AND THEN ALSO THEY HAD A LOT OF THEIR MONITORING SYSTEM INSIDE THE FLOODWAY, THEY HAD 47 MONITORING STATIONS INSIDE THE FLOODWAY BEFORE WE EVEN OPERATED. SO THEY WERE THERE EVEN BEFORE I ASKED THEM TO BE THERE, THEY KNEW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN AND THEY WERE RIGHT ON THE SPOT. THE SCIENCE THAT WE GOT FROM THE USGS WAS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED TO MAKE THE DECISIONS THAT I HAD TO MAKE. IíM LOOKING FORWARD TO WORKING WITH THE USGS NOW, AND INTO THE FUTURE.



Narrator: RUSHING WATERS FROM INTENTIONAL LEVEE BREACHES AND SPILLWAY OPENINGS CREATED SAFETY CONCERNS FOR NAVIGATION ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI. RIVER CURRENTS WERE MAPPED BY USGS BEFORE AND AFTER ACTIVATION OF THE FLOODWAY. THIS INFORMATION ALLOWED THE COAST GUARD TO ADVISE ABOUT NAVIGATIONAL CHANGES AND RIVER CURRENTS TO AVOID.



Bob Holmes: SO OUR USGS FIELD CREWS WERE OUT THERE MAKING THOSE MEASUREMENTS ON A DAILY BASIS TO GIVE THEM REAL-TIME DATA AS TO EXACTLY WHAT WAS COMING THROUGH THOSE SPILLWAYS.



Narrator: RECORD FLOODING OCCURRED IN THE WEST CONTINUOUSLY FOR MONTHS IN 2011 DUE TO EXTREME SPRING PRECIPITATION, COMPOUNDED BY SNOWPACK IN THE MOUNTAINS. CONDITIONS BECAME UNSAFE AND EVACUATIONS WERE NECESSARY.



Bob Holmes: I THINK THIS IS AN UNPRECEDENTED RESPONSE FROM THE USGS IN TERMS OF THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WE HAD OUT THERE AND THE AMOUNT OF DATA THAT WE COLLECTED; IT WAS SO USEFUL TO SO MANY ASPECTS; EVERYTHING FROM THE YAZOO LEVEE DISTRICT WAS USING OUR DATA WHERE WE WERE MEASURING VELOCITY AROUND THEIR LEVEES, THEY WERE WORRIED ABOUT EROSION OF THE LEVEES DOWN IN MISSISSIPPI, TO THE STUFF WE WERE DOING AT NEW MADRID IN SUPPORT OF THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS THAT WAS SO CRUCIAL TO THE THINGS THAT WE ARE DOING UP ON THE MISSOURI RIVER IN SUPPORT OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATIONS LOOKING AT SCOUR AROUND THE BRIDGES AND MAKING SURE THAT THOSE STRUCTURES ARE SAFE; AND WEíRE DOING ASSESSMENTS, WE HAVE MULTI-BEAM SONAR UNITS THAT WE USE ON OUR BOATS, AND WE ARE ABLE TO GO IN AND VERY DETAILED MAP THE BED. SO THE QUALITY OF DATA THAT WEíRE COLLECTING AND THE AMOUNT OF DATA THATíS USEFUL TO SO MANY OTHER PARTIES, ITíS KIND OF UNPRECEDENTED IN THIS FLOOD.



Narrator: AS WE MOVE INTO THE FUTURE, THE USGS IS DEDICATED TO FINDING NEW WAYS TO REDUCE THE VULNERABILITY OF PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES MOST AT RISK FROM FLOODING. FOR EXAMPLE, THE USGS AND PARTNERS ARE WORKING TO DEVELOP FLOOD INUNDATION MAPS. THESE ARE DIGITAL MAP LIBRARIES THAT SHOW THE EXTENT AND DEPTH OF FLOOD WATERS FOR ANY RIVER STAGE



FLOODS REMAIN ONE OF THE MOST COSTLY NATURAL DISASTERS IN THIS COUNTRY. BUT WITH THE USGS NETWORK OF OVER 7,000 REAL-TIME MONITORING STATIONS ACROSS THE UNITED STATES AND ITS ABILITY TO MOBILIZE SCIENTISTS DURING FLOOD EVENTS, PROGRESS IS BEING MADE TOWARD MAKING COMMUNITIES SAFER AND MORE RESILIENT.





TO MAKE SMART DECISIONS ABOUT FLOOD PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE, WE MUST START WITH SCIENCE.















CREDITS

Producer: Don Becker

Writers: Anne-Berry Wade, Kara Capelli, Jessica Robertson

Narrator: Debbie Grattan

Camera: Don Becker

John Hoffman

Jennifer LaVista

Chris Wells

Tom Doyle



Special Thank you:

Robert Holmes, USGS

Tom Graziano, NWS

Scott Harris, USACE

Major General Michael Walsh, USACE

Bill Werkheiser



A Product of

U.S Department of the Interior

U.S. Geological Survey









- END -





Details

Title: 2011: The Year of the Flood

Description:

Devastating floods across much of the U.S. were severe and unrelenting during the spring and summer of 2011. When floods happen, USGS crews are among the first-responders. Often working in dangerous conditions, USGS scientists measure streamflow and river levels, repair and install streamgages, measure water quality and changes in sediment flow, and assess river changes. From flood forecasts to difficult decisions about flood management, science is critical for flood preparations and response.

Location: , Mississippi River Basin, South Dakota, North Dakota, USA

Date Taken: 8/9/2011

Length: 7:27

Video Producer: Don Becker , U.S. Geological Survey


Note: This video has been released into the public domain by the U.S. Geological Survey for use in its entirety. Some videos may contain pieces of copyrighted material. If you wish to use a portion of the video for any purpose, other than for resharing/reposting the video in its entirety, please contact the Video Producer/Videographer listed with this video. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this video.

Additional Video Credits:

A Product of: Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey

Narration Studio:
Sunspots

Narrator:
Debbie Grattan

Producer:
Don Becker

Writers:
Anne-Berry Wade, Kara Capelli, Jessica Robertson

Camera:
Don Becker, John Hoffman, Jennifer LaVista, Chris Wells, Tom Doyle, Dave Ozman

Special Thank You:
Robert Holmes, USGS
Tom Graziano, NWS
Scott Harris, USACE
Major General Michael Walsh, USACE
Bill Werkheiser

File Details:

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