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Real-Time Sensors Report Storm Data on Hurricane Joaquin

Long Island will be equipped with innovative sensors that will provide data on water levels, rainfall, wind and other factors to a satellite every 12 minutes.

by Jennifer Barrios, Newsday / October 5, 2015
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

(TNS) -- Hurricane Joaquin will give federal officials a chance to test a new system designed to provide real-time information about water conditions on Long Island and beyond during a storm, allowing emergency agencies to respond more quickly.

The U.S. Geological Survey's Surge, Wave and Tide Hydrodynamic Network reaches from Virginia to Maine, with dozens of sites on Long Island.

While Joaquin is expected to veer east of Long Island, the agency plans a scaled-back deployment of the system on Long Island, said Ron Busciolano, supervisory hydrologist with the USGS New York Water Science Center in Coram.

"We are going to make this a test of the network," Busciolano said. "We've been waiting for a storm to do a test, so this is a good opportunity for us."

USGS teams on Long Island have been working over the last few days readying the sensors and placing them in special brackets permanently housed on piers, docks and other coastal locations.

That work will continue over the weekend.

Busciolano said 30 to 35 data-collecting sensors will be deployed to collect storm data.

In addition, a real-time sensor to be installed Saturday off the Robert Moses Causeway will stream data on water levels, rainfall, wind and other factors to a satellite every 12 minutes, he said.

Two other real-time devices have been placed, on Staten Island and in Mamaroneck. During the storm, that data will be available continuously on the USGS's website at events/2015/Joaquin/.

Busciolano said the test run will allow the USGS to figure out how the system might work during a severe storm.

"Once we get all this information back, we'll know -- are there any things that we need to tweak for future storms?" he said.

Hydrologist Michael Como and hydrologic technician Corey-Jason Saile spent Friday placing six of the sensors in various locations, including Guy Lombardo Marina in Freeport.

There, Como slid the sensor into a pipe that he placed in a bracket attached to the marina's fishing pier.

"We try to get it as close to the water as possible, so we can capture the full wave cycle and full tide cycle," Saile explained.

After measuring the depth of the sensor, making sure it wasn't buried in the sediment, the two stood up and admired their work.

"That's a wrap," Como said.

©2015 Newsday Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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