The Tools to Protect Yourself

Floods cause more than $150 million in damage each year in the river basin including New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

The Susquehanna River Basin Flood Forecasting and Warning System was designed to help forecast river levels and issue early warnings so you can keep your family and your belongings safe.

Use this site to learn more about the history and destructive nature of flooding in the basin, how the warning system operates and what you can do to prepare.

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission

New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and the federal government formed the Susquehanna River Basin Commission in 1971 to protect and manage the water resources of the Susquehanna River Basin. The commission coordinates an interagency committee that maintains and operates the Flood Forecast and Warning System.

System saves lives and property

The winter flash flood of 1996 could have been much worse, but early warnings saved lives and an estimated $100 million in property damage:

  • Wilkes-Barre, PA, got 6 hours warning, allowing 110,000 people to evacuate.
  • Harrisburg got 4 hours warning, giving officials time to implement emergency management measures.
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dams held back 167 billion gallons of flood water, averting another $1.3 billion in damages.

Constantly improving

The National Weather Service is working on improvements to the system. The enhanced flood forecast and warning system uses hydrologic computer models and weather and climate data from advanced weather satellites and Doppler radar to extend the lead time for seeing trouble to a week or more, from just a day or two.

That gives us time to evacuate people, protect property, better use reservoir storage and decide where and when to reinforce levees.

Download the Susquehanna River Basin Commission Information Sheet [PDF]