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Record-breaking flow rates on local rivers

REGION — The Delaware River Basin Commission delivered a data roundup for 2018 earlier this month, noting that the wet year delivered three record-breaking flow rates on the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers.

A flow rate refers to the volume of water that runs past a fixed point in a stream over time. It’s determined by measuring the velocity, or speed, of the water multiplied by a cross section of the river. Flow rate is measured in cubic feet per second.

The data on flow rate measurements comes from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and was compiled before the federal government shutdown, which has since caused the website to go unmonitored.

According to this data, the Schulykill River in Philadelphia last year had the highest median flows, with the measurement taken about 150 feet upstream from the Fairmount Dam, since at least 1932.

The Delaware River at Montague, NJ, taken about 1,500 feet upstream from the bridge connecting Montague and Milford, PA, had the highest median flows since at least 1940. On the Delaware in Trenton, NJ, the USGS recorded the second-highest median flows, with the measurement taken about 450 feet upstream from Trenton’s Calhoun Street Bridge. The highest year was 2011, which included flows resulting from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Records go back to 1913.


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