Flood Warning Systems

Flood Warning System at Western Branch

The Western Branch Comprehensive Watershed Management Plan was prepared by the Prince George’s County Stormwater Management Technical Group in 1981. Even though the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had constructed a floodway through Upper Marlboro to carry flood waters away, certain commercial, residential, and other structure types have been found to be subject to flooding in the Upper Marlboro Area. To date, no additional flood control devices have been proposed or planned to mitigate these known flooding hazards. A consulting engineering firm, Engineering Technology Associates (ETA), has completed hydrologic and hydraulic analyses or a watershed study of Western Branch.

This study was not designed to produce or evaluate possible solutions that will minimize flooding problems in the Upper Marlboro area. Rather, this study was meant to determine the flood levels in the Western Branch at Upper Marlboro. This study will form the technical basis to be used by the county to select and evaluate possible solutions to the flooding problems in the Watershed. Until the final study and selection of alternatives is completed and ready for implementation, it would be prudent to have an interim program for limiting the extent of flood damage that may occur. Such an interim program to limit flood damage has been proposed in the form of a flood warning system. The Flood Warning System would provide for the monitoring of rainfall and stream flow data to determine if a flood is imminent. The Flood Alerting System will allow the county to use the information gained with the Flood Warning System to alert those in danger that the danger exists.

Flood Warning System Study

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed a study of the efficacy and desirability of installing a flood warning system in Western Branch. The study indicated that such a flood warning system would be feasible and desirable. The designed and implemented flood warning and alerting system for the Western Branch is a model for other watersheds within the county. The flood warning and alerting system will continue to provided an additional margin of safety and will be retained as a permanent feature of the Western Branch Flood Management System.

Automated Flood Warning Network Western Branch Watershed Map

Warning System Integration

 The flood warning system has been integrated into the county’s emergency management system. The flood warning system reports rainfall and stage elevation data during the course of a storm event. When flood waters begin to rise, emergency management has access to this information, which can be used to develop a comprehensive understanding of the status of a flood, in real time.

Prince George’s County received state grant funding to upgrade the Western Branch Flood Warning System. The updated system is in full operation.

View Precipitation, Stage and Other Gauge Data Online

The National Weather Service (NWS) posts precipitation and stage data which is collected by the county's flood gauges. Note: After accessing the NWS Website, please located Prince George's County on the map and click on any point within the county to retrieve precipitation or stage data at our flood gauges.

Flood Warning System Near/at City of Laurel

The City of Laurel has 2 distinct types of flood risk. The more probable risk is riverine flooding and the other risk is associated with dam failure. The city works cooperatively with the county and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) to alert citizens to potential flood events. The city communicates with its residents using a variety of media which can be used to convey information about preparing for and responding to a flood event. To learn more about the flood warning system for the City of Laurel, you may visit the City of Laurel Emergency Services webpage.

Flood Warning System at Anacostia River

According to a preliminary Anacostia River Watershed Study prepared by Greenhorne and O'Mara, Inc. in 1993, more than 3,000 structures may be flood-prone within the Prince George's County portion of the Anacostia Watershed. Given the fiscal constraints of flood management in the Anacostia, a flood warning system is a cost effective flood hazard mitigation measure. The county worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop the flood warning system for this watershed. The flood warning system at Anacostia River is in full operation.

Automated Flood Warning Network Anacostia River Watershed Map

Alerts - Major Events & Local Emergencies

The Prince George's County Office of Homeland Security/Office of Emergency Management (OHS/OEM) offers a service, known as Alert Prince George's, which is a secure, reliable communications system that is critical for preparedness, response and recovery. The ability to alert communities quickly and get county personnel in action fast can make a critical difference in public safety. In the event of a major flood or other flood-related hazard, individuals registered in the system can be notified via e-mail accounts, cell phone, pager and wireless PDA. If you would like to be added to our database, register online at Alert Alert Prince George's. You may include more than 1 contact number or email address.

Most cell phone carriers offer, and most phones have, text messaging capability. It’s easy to use and relatively inexpensive. For more information on this feature, contact your carrier.