The flood warning system has proved its worth

Officials agree that the loss of $600 million in property and 14 lives in the January 1996 flood could have been much greater without the Susquehanna River Basin Flood Forecast and Warning System.

Even minutes count when a flood is coming

Paul Swartz

"Every minute, every hour that folks have to get out of harm's way is critical. As bad as this flood of January 1996 was, it could have been much worse--and would have been much worse--if people hadn't had as much advance lead time as they did."

-- Paul Swartz, Executive Director, Susquehanna River Basin Commission

Being familiar with who is involved allows for better coordination

Mike Sprague

"I think one of the biggest benefits of having a flood forecasting system, especially a self-help group is in order to do that, to sit down and even think about putting one together, you have to bring all the agencies together. And, you know, right from the grass roots, the villages, the cities, they all have to work together to create something like this. And in the process of creating something like this, you wind up with much better coordination. Even if it doesn't necessarily turn into a large, full-scale system. The coordination, the one-on-one, discussions, and the memorandums of understanding that get generated--it's a tremendous benefit, (and it can't be...) you can't even put a price tag on it. Because, once you get into a flood situation, everybody's familiar with each other. They know how the systems are supposed to interrelate. And everything goes much smoother."

-- Mike Sprague, Director, Steuben County Emergency Services