The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

February 21, 2014

Casey seeks continued federal funding for flood warning system

The Daily Item

— WILKES-BARRE — U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., today called for additional funding for electronic river gauges that help communities across the Central Susquehanna Valley forecast flooding.

Casey released a letter to the Administration’s Office of Management and Budget, which is preparing the soon to be released fiscal year 2015 budget, urging additional funding for the devices, which are located in several local communities, including Milton, Danvile, Lewisburg and Sunbury.

“The Susquehanna River Basin is one of the most flood prone basins in the nation,” Casey said today. “For every dollar invested by the federal government, the system returns $20 through reduced flood damages and reduced payouts through the federal flood insurance program. Keeping current gauges open and adding new ones will allow Pennsylvanians to receive early warnings, which in turn will help residents prepare their homes, allow for emergency management measures, and ultimately help save lives. This is a smart investment, and I’m urging the administration to support this crucial program.”

The Susquehanna Flood Forecasting and Warning System consists of a network of stream and rain gauges that generate data which allows the National Weather Service to issue flood warnings that help keep Pennsylvania residents safe. Unfortunately, due to funding issues many stream gauges that are vital to the overall system are in danger of being closed.

Fully funding and implementing the U.S Geological Survey National Streamflow Information Program will create a sustainable network that will improve safety and help prevent future flood damage in the Susquehanna River Basin region, where average annual flood damages are nearly $150 million.