Visitors to the Web site ga.water.usgs.gov/rivercam/webcam-savannah.html can control the camera from their computer or mobile device, zooming in and out and moving it side to side and up and down. They can even snap a photo with it.
Brian McCallum, assistant director of USGS’s Georgia Water Science Center, said the camera was deployed about a year ago to assist in monitoring flooding, especially in a hurricane. Five other cameras have been installed in other flood-prone areas of Georgia, including one in Brunswick.
“We’re hopeful that if a hurricane ever hits, that we’d be able at least to have a video feed,” he said.
A similar camera was set up temporarily in Virginia Beach ahead of Hurricane Irene. It survived the storm, even with the eye passing over it.
“It showed a lot of people didn’t evacuate,” McCallum said. “They were all out there on the beach watching the waves.”
The Savannah River camera sits at the Army Corps’ dock, serving as an adjunct to a river gauge that records 13 different parameters, including water level, velocity, temperature and salinity.
It’s first-come, first-serve on the camera controls, McCallum said.
“Oop, there goes a big boat,” he said during a telephone interview in which he obviously was using the web cam himself.
You’ll get kicked off the camera after a minute if somebody else is waiting. And of course, the USGS will take over if there’s a need, such as in a hurricane.
Meanwhile, take a look at ships passing by, the scene on River Street or traffic on the bridge. The USGS will be pleased if you do.
“The idea is just to make people more aware of the river itself,” McCallum said.