Rain and Stream Gauges in Burn Areas
A series of rain and stream flow gauges have been installed within and downstream of the areas burned by the devastating October wildfires, providing real-time data to weather forecasters who are responsible for sending out alerts to residents when flashfloods or debris flows may be imminent. The gauge installations enhance Sonoma County’s ability to monitor for potential dangers during rain storms and trigger advanced warnings based on better thresholds.
A system of 10 stream/rain gauges and 12 rain-only gauges were installed in locations throughout the Nuns and Tubbs fires burn areas, and along streams within and downstream of the burn areas. The data from the gauges is used by the National Weather Service (NWS) in developing their hazardous weather advisories, alerts and warnings. The real-time rainfall and streamflow data is also available to the public at https://sonoma.onerain.com/.
Many properties in the areas in the areas burned by the wildfires, and downstream of those areas, are at risk for flash flooding, mudflows and debris flows during periods of intense rainfall. Wildfires can dramatically alter the terrain and soil conditions and leave the ground unable to absorb water, creating ideal conditions for flash flooding and mudflows.
City and County officials are working collaboratively on numerous fire recovery fronts, including efforts to protect the watershed and communicate with residents in the burn areas about the importance of signing up for alerts and remaining vigilant about weather conditions. The new rain and stream gauge system and website was installed by the Sonoma County Water Agency as part of an early warning system for flooding, and to improve its overall flood control capabilities.