Flood Safety Awareness Week

Today's Topic: The NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service and partner services

It floods somewhere in the United States or its territories nearly every day of the year. In the past thirty years,  floods have killed an average of ninety five people a year and have caused an average of eight billion dollars in damages annually.

This week we have discussed what flood safety is, the different types of floods you may encounter, the NWS Turn Around Don’t Drown campaign and the National Flood Insurance Program. Today we hope to tie all of those together to help you prepare for situations when flood waters flow!

As mentioned on Monday, the NWS website provides up to date advisory, watch and warning information for the U.S. and its territories. But there is additional information on that page you may not be aware of to help you before, during, and after a flood.

The Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, or AHPS, is an ongoing effort to modernize the NWS’s hydrologic services.  AHPS provides river and flood forecasts and water information across America to protect life and property. It also helps ensure the nation’s economic wellbeing. Everyone who makes decisions based on water, including but not limited to farmers, river boat pilots, emergency managers, municipal water supply officials, recreationists and dam operators can benefit from AHPS. You can get to AHPS from the NWS website.

Flood Inundation mapping…
The ability to look days into the future to see how many city blocks and roads might be flooded is becoming clearer with flood inundation mapping. NOAA’s NWS and NOAA’ s National Ocean Service, NOS,  are collaborating with the USGS, USACE, FEMA and other partners to develop inundation maps for inland freshwater flooding. Sets of maps, referred to as libraries, are being developed which include map layers depicting the spatial extent and depth of water for various flood levels ranging from minor flooding all the way through the flood of record in the vicinity of NWS river forecast locations. Combined with traditional NWS river forecasts, these flood maps show the areas of likely inundation based on current conditions and river forecasts. Maps are produced using geographic information systems, GIS, and datasets created in the production of FEMA’s flood insurance rate maps. These libraries are accessible through the AHPS web site.

In addition to providing our own flood forecasts and warning information, the NWS works with and relies on strategic partners involved in river observations, reservoir management, floodplain management,  flood hazard mitigation and flood preparedness to reduce the loss of life and property due to floods. Just a few of those partners are listed below. Your local NWS office can help you find additional partners if you have a specific need to be addressed.

American Red Cross…
Information on how to reduce potential flood damage and what to include in a family disaster.

Information on flood risk, the national flood insurance program and disaster assistance. 

United States Geological Survey
Information on current water conditions and resources can be obtained. 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers…
Information regarding dams, levees and recreational areas near you. 

The National Hydrologic Warning Council...
A non-profit organization dedicated to assisting emergency and environmental management officials by providing expert advice on the use of real-time, high quality hydrologic information from automated remote data systems, with the goals of protecting lives, property, and the environment.

Additional key partners are the Association of State Flood Plain Managers,  the National Safety Council,  the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, The Weather Channel and other media outlets, and many other government and private sector organizations. For more information on any of our partners, contact your local NWS office.

As we wrap up the 2013 Flood Safety Awareness Week, remember, flooding causes more damage in the United States than any other weather related event. Flooding can occur in any of the fifty states or U.S. territories at any time of the year sometimes with very little warning. Being prepared in advance and knowing a few flood safety tips will help you and your family survive a flood if it happens in your area. Know your risk, Turn Around Don’t Drown, evaluate your need for flood insurance, visit with our partners to learn how they too can help you prepare and be a force of nature! It could save your life.

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