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Southern California Flood Wave Captured by USGS Hydrologic Technicians (Video)

USGS Hydrologic Technicians, Drew Gaffney and Ernie Houston, captured a frontal wave during a flash flood just as it reached USGS streamgage 11136800 at Cuyama River below Buckhorn Canyon near Santa Maria, CA on July 20, 2015. The video was taken during recent precipitation events in Southern California.

The technicians measured a discharge of 897 cubic feet per second (cfs) from a cableway between the two consecutive flood peaks. The flood wave arrived at 4:18 p.m.; the measurement was taken at 5:15 p.m.

For more than 125 years, the USGS has monitored flow in selected streams and rivers across the United States. The information is routinely used for water supply and management, monitoring floods and droughts, bridge and road design, determination of flood risk, and for recreational activities.

USGS real-time maps of flood and high flow conditions for California may be accessed online. Access current flood and high flow conditions across the country by visiting the USGS WaterWatch Website.

Receive instant, customized updates about water conditions in your area via text message or email by signing up for USGS WaterAlert. See where floodwaters go by following a stream trace at Streamer. View water data on your mobile device. Learn how a USGS streamgage works.

Drew Gaffney, Hydrologic Technician: "July 20, 2015. Cuyama River below Buckhorn Canyon. Floodwave just arrived, it's ah, 16:18. Cloudy skies, ERHDJG (meaning Hydrologic Technicians Ernie Houston and Drew Gaffney). Spotted the flood-wave earlier today at Rock Front Ranch about nine miles upstream. That was about noon. Took about four hours and 20 minutes to get down."

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