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Flood stages for Cimarron River to be lowered

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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 lower the zero datum and raise the flood stages for the river forecast point on Cimarron River near Guthrie, Okla., effective Sept. 24.

Changes in the river channel combined with recent drought conditions and low flows in the Cimarron River will make it necessary for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to lower the zero datum 5.0 feet at the streamgage site on the Cimarron River near Guthrie. The zero datum will be lowered to 891.50 feet by the USGS. Thus, the flood stages will have to be raised 5.0 feet as a result of this datum change. The flood stage will be raised from 13.0 feet to 18.0 feet. Moderate flood stage will be raised from 17.0 feet to 22.0 feet. Major flood stage will be raised from 20.0 feet to 25.0 feet.

The Cimarron River Basin is subject to occasional flooding, and the last crests above flood stage at the Guthrie river gage site occurred in July and August  2007. The USGS operates and maintains telemetered streamgaging equipment on the U.S. Highway 77 Bridge north of Guthrie. Local officials can also take manual readings using a wire weight gage during flood events.

Other river forecast services in the Cimarron River drainage area that are supported by the Norman forecast office and the river forecast center include  upstream river stage forecast points near Buffalo, Waynoka, Okeene, and Dover, Okla., and a downstream forecast point near Perkins, Okla.

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.

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