Flood Operations Plan

The United States Geological Survey (USGS), along with other cooperative financial sponsors, maintains the stream gage located on the downstream face of the North Street Bridge, Wilkes-Barre. This is USGS Gage Station 01536500 and it records the river level (stage) and the discharge (cubic feet per second) from a 9,960-square mile drainage area. Information from the Susquehanna River is transmitted to the NWS to assist this agency in its flood forecasting. River Flooding occurs when river levels rise and overflow their banks and inundate areas that are normally dry river flooding can occur at any time of the year and may be caused by the heavy rainfall, rapid snowmelt and ice jams. The NWS provides the following river flooding notifications:

Action Stage: River level is near bank, but below flood stage. At some locations there are pre-determined actions that must be taken, such as closing roads or increasing of staff levels for emergency workers.

Flood Stage: The river is overflowing its banks and minor flooding begins in unprotected low-lying areas. These areas generally include rural areas, farmland and secondary roadways near the river flood. 
Moderate Flood Stage: Flooding inundates some structures and roads near rivers and streams. Some locations require evacuation of people and/or transfer of property to higher elevations.
Major Flood Stage: Flooding of developed areas results in extensive inundation of structures and roads and requires significant evacuations of people and/or transfer of property to higher elevations. Towns may become isolated and major traffic routes may be flooded. 


Chart obtained from the Operation & Maintenance Manual (O&MM), Wyoming Valley Flood Risk Management Project, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, United States Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, (October 2018).

Stage Definitions for Floods

The National Weather Service (NWS) provides the following flood notification products:

A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent in specific areas. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain. If the public is in a flood prone area they should move immediately to high ground.

A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is highly likely, imminent or already happening.

A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. A flood watch notification does not mean flooding will occur but that conditions exist that flooding is possible in specific areas.

A Flood Advisory is issued when a specific weather event that is forecast to occur may become a nuisance. A flood advisory notification is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. 

Stream gage located on the downstream face of the North Street Bridge, Wilkes-Barre

Initial Notification 

Flood Operations Plan

This chart provides information concerning areas of possible inundation at certain flood stages throughout the Wyoming Valley.