The National Weather Service forecast office in Norman and the Arkansas-Red Basin River Forecast Center in Tulsa, in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey in Oklahoma City, will raise the flood stages for the river forecast point on the Blue River near Blue, Okla., effective August 20, 2014.
Recent changes in the river channel, and construction of a new highway bridge over the Blue River made it necessary for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to lower the zero datum by nearly 4 feet at the streamgage site on the Blue River near Blue. The zero datum has been lowered to 496.97 feet by the USGS. Consequently, the flood stages will have to be raised 4.0 feet as a result of this datum change. The flood stage will be raised from 24.0 feet to 28.0 feet. Moderate flood stage will be raised from 27.0 feet to 31.0 feet. Major flood stage will be raised from 39.0 feet to 43.0 feet.
The Blue River Basin is subject to occasional flooding, with moderate flooding occurring along the Blue River in January 2012. The last crest above flood stage at the Blue gage site occurred in March 2012. The USGS operates and maintains telemetered streamgaging equipment on the U.S. Highway 70 Bridge one mile west of Blue, Okla. Local officials can also take manual readings using a wire weight gage during flood events.
The Arkansas-Red Basin River Forecast Center prepares river stage forecasts for the drainage area of the Arkansas River above Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and the drainage area of the Red River above Fulton, Arkansas. Covering approximately 208,000 square miles, the forecast center's area of responsibility includes all of Oklahoma, and portions of Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico.
The Norman office provides all the weather services for 48 counties in the western two-thirds of Oklahoma (excluding the Oklahoma panhandle), and eight counties in western north Texas. The office collects meteorological data, prepares and disseminates weather forecasts, river and flood forecasts and warnings; and, issues severe weather watches and warnings to the public. Additional information is available at http://www.weather.gov/norman or http://www.weather.gov/abrfc.