River flows following Hurricane Sandy will be lower than those recorded after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Flows in the Susquehanna River after Hurricane Sandy were expected to reach 155,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). In 2011, a flow of 775,000 cfs occurred following Irene and Lee. The record was 1.1 million cfs during Hurricane Agnes in 1972.
Hurricane Sandy had a larger effect on the Potomac River watershed and Eastern Shore. After the storm, current flow at Little Falls in Washington, DC reached levels as high as 137,000 cfs. The record for the Potomac is 484,000 cfs, set in 1936. The Choptank River reached a peak of 4480 cfs, which was half of the flow seen during Irene or Lee.
The USGS and partners are collecting samples of nutrients and sediment at the Chesapeake Bay Program Nontidal Water-Quality Network, which includes 125 sites. The results will be used to assess effects on the Bay and its watershed.