NOAA 2005-R225
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Pat Slattery
3/10/05
NOAA News Releases 2005
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NOAA’S NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
RAISES FLOOD STAGE AT RACINE LOCK ON THE OHIO RIVER

The NOAA National Weather Service announced a new flood stage of 41 feet for Racine Lock on the Ohio River in late February. The flood stage was raised from 38 feet to 41 feet based on data collected daily over several years and will provide residents with more accurate forecasts. NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

“Improving flood forecast accuracy is an important part of NOAA’s mission,” said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of NOAA's National Weather Service. “This is part of the continuing effort to serve society’s needs for weather and water information.” More than 100 people, on average, lose their lives due to floods in the U.S. every year. Accurate flood forecasts provide valuable time for people to take action and help reduce loss of property and life.

The new flood stage is based on integrating several years of daily river data from the NWS, the offices of emergency management from Meigs County, Ohio and Mason County, W.Va., as well as the supervisor of the navigational dam at Racine Lock. “During the floods in September 2004 and January 2005, we noticed that property and loss of life were not affected at the previous 38 foot flood stage. We worked closely with our partners to integrate flood survey results to determine that flooding did not occur until the Ohio River reached 41 feet on the lower gage at Racine Lock,” said Al Rezek, meteorologist-in-charge of the NWS Forecast Office in Charleston, W.Va.

The Ohio River at Racine Lock is a daily forecast point included in NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS), a Web-based service of accurate and timely forecasts related to hydrology. “A graphic and text display shows how long it will take the river to reach a flood stage, how high the river will rise and how long the flood will last whenever a forecast is issued,” explained John Sikora, senior service hydrologist at the Charleston forecast office. Specific daily river forecasts will be available for the Ohio River at Racine Lock on the NWS AHPS Web site: http://ahps.erh.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/ahps.cgi/rlx

“This new flood stage provides an invaluable public service for residents in and near Racine Lock by providing a more accurate flood forecast,” said Peter Gabrielsen, chief, hydrologic services division, NWS Eastern Region. “The new flood stage helps us meet the National Weather Service mission of protecting life and property for citizens living near the Ohio River at Racine Lock.”

The NOAA National Weather Service Forecast Office in Charleston, W.Va., provides full weather services for nine counties in southeast Ohio, four in eastern Kentucky, two in southwest Virginia and 34 counties in West Virginia. The office collects meteorological data, prepares and disseminates weather forecasts, river and flood forecasts and warnings as well as issues severe weather watches and warnings to the public.

The NOAA National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. The NOAA National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:

NOAA: http://www.noaa.gov/

NOAA’s National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov

NOAA’s NWS Charleston, West Virginia: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/rlx

AHPS program: http://ahps.erh.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/ahps.cgi/rlx