IFC stream sensor deployment

Stream Sensors

The Iowa Flood Center has designed, built, and deployed a real-time network of nearly 300 stream-stage sensors to improve flood monitoring and forecasting. The stream sensors use ultrasonic technology to measure river levels and cell modem-based communication to transmit data automatically every 15 minutes to the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS). The network complements about 150 U.S. Geological Survey stream gages by filling in data along small streams and tributaries.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Iowa Silver Jackets, and local communities help to support the stream sensor network. The stream sensor data are shared with state and federal agencies to assist their operations. The sensors are robust, economical, and provide individuals and communities with reliable flood information to assist with planning and decision-making. 

stream sensor box

Stream Sensor Description

This publication describes the technical components of IFC's stream sensor network and operations.

Kip Ladage

"The stream gage information provided by the IFC has been critical in our decision making process...IFC provides vital public safety information not available elsewhere." 

Kip Ladage, Bremer County Emergency Management 

hydro station

Hydrologic Monitoring Network

To improve flood- and drought- monitoring and forecasting, the Iowa Flood Center has a growing network of hydrologic weather stations deployed across the state. The stations measure rainfall, soil moisture and soil temperature, windspeed and direction, and groundwater levels in shallow wells. IFC is working towards a goal of one station in every country to better predict floods, assess droughts, and manage Iowa's water resources. Data are collected in real-time and are visually displayed on IFIS.