TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - The Wabash River is at a near historic low.
The current reading is now at less than half a foot, but, as you can see, the river is deeper than that.
So, how did they arrive at the zero point and the high point levels?
Well, the story goes, as the railroads built their bridges, they asked old timers what the lowest they'd ever saw the river, which they'd take into consideration. Then, they would ask what the highest points it'd been at, which the railroads would then build their bridges accordingly.
There has been a stick stuck to an old bridge abutment—it's about 100 years old—and goes upt to more than 31 feet.
The record high for the Wabash was 31 feet in 1913, and the bridge didn't wash out, so the method worked.
Today, rather than sticks, the levels are read by flow meters.
The one demonstrated was out of the water because the river was low.
However, there are others in the water.
Water flows through the lines, its rate is measured and goes through these cables up the hill to building where the river stage is transmitted to the weather service by satellite.
You might wonder how the river can read zero and still have water. Well, the river has changed since the first numbers were calculated.
To avoid confusion, flood levels were left the same, rather than changing the numbers.
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