New River Gauge for Lycoming County

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The days of physically checking the river levels in part of Lycoming County are over.

A new automatic river gauge was installed Tuesday near Muncy, saving officials from having to go to great lengths to get a reading, a big help when flooding hits.

Floods have hit the Muncy area several times in recent years including the big one in September.

Each time, officials used an older, manual river gauge to help predict how high the Susquehanna waters would rise.

Now they will be able to do that indoors by logging onto a county website.

While cars and trucks buzzed by the bridge between Muncy and Montgomery, crews were installing Lycoming County's latest tool to monitor the Susquehanna River.

"This should be reporting 24/7 to give residents of Muncy, Montgomery and downstream a real-time readings of river level," said John Yingling with the Lycoming County Department of Public Safety.

Public safety officials said Muncy and Montgomery pitched in to buy the hi-tech gauge that is solar-powered. Because the gauge is on the bridge, high above the river, it uses specialized radar detection to determine the river level.

"It's measuring the reflection from the top of the water to the radar unit on this transmitter," said Robin Wesstrom with Keystone Communications.

For years and years, EMS personnel, police and fire would have to go out on the bridge in inclement weather and during heavy traffic to crank down a device to read the river level, and report back. Then they would have to do it over and over again. The new system does it all by itself.

Now business owners in Muncy not only appreciate the accuracy the new gauge will offer but also the increased safety for everyone involved.

"We might be better prepared, but the biggest thing is our guys that are doing it aren't going to be in danger as much, very happy for that," said Tilly Noviello of Orlando's.

The new gauge near Muncy is the first one located on the Susquehanna River in Lycoming County.

Eventually, once the county website is updated, anyone with an internet connection can keep watch on the river levels which will update every ten minutes.