North Carolina Water Science Center
ABOUT THE NC WATER SCIENCE CENTER
USGS IN YOUR STATE
USGS Water Science Centers are located in each state.
Frequently Asked Questions
Groundwater FAQ (new page)
Maps, Publications, and other USGS Products
North Carolina Environmental Data
You may also want to look through the extensive USGS FAQ or browse the USGS Science Topics. For questions that aren't covered, you may want to try Ask-A-Geologist or Ask USGS. Specific questions for North Carolina information can be directed to the NC Water Science Center Information Officer.
All of the data being collected by our real-time gaging stations is available from the National Water Information System (NWIS Web). The NWIS Web Real-time Water Data page includes several pre-defined displays for surface water, groundwater, and water quality data. Additional resources are listed on our Information/Data pages.
Historical water (streamflow, groundwater, water quality) data
Much of the long term and historical data collected by our real-time gaging stations is available from the National Water Information System (NWIS Web). This data is finalized annually and published in the Annual Data Report.
For active stations, there is a pull down menu near the top of each station data page labelled 'Available data for this site.' Long term data is available under the "Time Series: Daily Data" option.
For discontinued stations, the NWIS Web Site Inventory contains records from all USGS gaging stations.
Historical instantaneous streamflow data (generally 15-minute) is also available from the Instantaneous Data Archive (IDA).
Not all historical data is available online. If you don't find the data you need, contact the NC Water Science Center Information Officer.
River stage forecasts
The National Weather Service provides stage forecasts for selected streams. North Carolina is included in the Southeast River Forecast Center (SERFC) and the Lower Mississippi Forecast Center (LMRFC); there are two North Carolina index maps:
Floodplains and floodplain maps
Floodplain maps across North Carolina are currently being updated. The updates are organized by river basin; most river basins have been started. You can view and download the completed update maps, check the project status across the state, and learn more about the update process at NC Floodmaps.
If the updated floodplain maps are not available for your area, you can contact the National Flood Insurance Program, North Carolina Division of Emergency Management at (919) 715-8000, extension 282. The NC Division of Emergency Management keeps reference copies of the currently active Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood-frequency maps.
To obtain hardcopy map products directly from FEMA, call 1-800-358-9616 or order online through the Map Service Center.
Low-flow (7Q10 or 30Q2) estimates
The USGS North Carolina Water Science Center responds to requests for low-flow discharge estimates at site-specific locations on streams in North Carolina. Low-flow estimates can generally be estimated for most locations in North Carolina with exception of tidally-affected reaches or impounded reaches (lakes or ponds).
Low-flow estimates are currently handled by Curtis Weaver, firstname.lastname@example.org. There may be a charge for some requests.
When requesting a low-flow estimate, please detail the location as precisely as you can. A map is usually very helpful - you can fax a map to Curtis at (919) 571-4041. You can also send to Curtis a map image attached to an email with latitude/longitude coordinates and an accompanying brief description (e.g., approximately 1,500 upstream from Secondary Road XXXX).
Low-flow estimates for several gaged locations have been published.
Public Water Supply and water-quality standards
North Carolina water-quality standards for streams are published in the North Carolina Administrative Codes & Statutes. Additional information can be found through the North Carolina Division of Water Quality.
North Carolina regulations for the public water supply can be found through the State Division of Environmental Health, Public Water Supply. If you have specific concerns, you may call them at (919) 733-2321 and assisst you in having your water supply tested (for a fee). To have water from a private water supply tested, contact the Environmental Health Offices in your county. Their fees may vary from county to county. An alternative plan would be to contact local laboratories to arrange for water testing.
For general information on drinking water health issues, call the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.
Meta-Indexes to USGS Maps, Publications, and other products
USGS publications or photographs
USGS topographic maps
General information is available from the Topographic Mapping page. All USGS maps may be ordered online through the USGS Store or by calling 1-888-ASK USGS. Maps can also be viewed online through the National Map or National Atlas.
The North Carolina Geological Survey also sells 7.5 minute topographic maps through their North Carolina Geological Survey Shop. Indexes to the available map scales are on their maps and aerial photographs page.
USGS mapping products
The Earth Reource Observation and Science Center has aerial, elevation, satellite, and land cover products.
Where can I get information on — Climate
Official climatalogical data from the National Weather Service (NWS) is avaible online from several organizations.
Precipitation data from the USGS is available through NWIS Web.
Where can I get information on — Soils
Soil temperature and moisture data is available from the North Carolina State Climate Office for approximately 30 stations across North Carolina. These stations are part of their Agriculture and ECONet programs; data is available online from CRONOS under the ECONET and SCAN data types.
Where can I get information on — Wetlands
For North Carolina-specific information or regulations regarding wetlands, you can contact:
The USF&W National Wetlands Inventory page has extensive information about wetlands in addition to their National Wetland Inventory maps. You can order hard copies of the NWI maps from thier page or use their Wetlands Interactive Mapper to make and print custom wetlands maps.
Other national resources for wetlands information (some with North Carolina specific programs) include:
Where can I get information on — Tides and charts
CO-OPS, The Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, provides both predictions (through Tidal Current Predictions) and current data (through Tides Online). Further information about tide data from the National Ocean Service is avaible through their Tides and Currents page and their Tides and Water Levels tutorial.
Nautical charts are available from the Office of Coast Survey and NOS Data Explorer. Further information about charting and navigation from the National Ocean Service is availble through their Shoreline Mapping and Marine Navigation pages.
Information about the North Carolina coastal areas is available from the Division of Coastal Management.
Where can I get information on — Benchmarks
Where can I get information on — Natural Hazards
Information and resources on earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, landslides, and more are available from the USGSNatural Hazards Gateway. Local preparedness resources are available from the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management.
Information on current hurricanes is available from the National Hurricane Center.
USGS information concerning storms that affected North Carolina is available at:
Current national and global data is available from the National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC). Specific data for North Carolina is available from the NEIC under North Carolina Earthquake Information. Additional regional information is available from the Center for Earthquake Research and Information (CERI).
Millions of years ago, the land that would become North Carolina was being created and shaped through volcanic activity. A brief geologic history of North Carolina is available through North Carolina's Volcanic Past.
After the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-1812, there were also reports of a volcanic eruption in North Carolina. Those reports are analyzed in A Volcano in North Carolina? A Closer Look at a Tall Tale.