(L - R) Southeast River Forecast Center Hydrologist-in-Charge John Feldt, U.S. Representative Sanford Bishop, Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard, Albany Mayor Willie Adams and USGS Southeast Region Director Jess Weaver. (Photo:NWS)
(Oct. 26, 2010) - Officials from the U.S Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Weather Service (NWS) announced a new flood mapping forecast service for the City of Albany, Ga.
The new online and interactive flood preparedness tool is now available for the Flint River. Scientists from the USGS and NWS developed the new Flood Inundation Map to improve flood warnings and emergency management along the Flint River in Albany.
The creation of the Flint River Flood Inundation Map tool is a result of a national pilot project between the USGS and NWS, and is the first of its kind to be completed in Georgia. The Flood Inundation Mapping product is an interactive web-based tool that shows the extent and depth of flood waters over given land areas. These maps enable management officials and residents to see where the potential threat of floodwaters is the highest.
USGS Associate Director for Water, Bill Werkheiser, explains: "This new flood preparedness tool highlights how these agencies and local officials are working together towards creating more resilient communities, providing better flood preparedness and responses to flooding."
U.S. Representative Sanford Bishop, Albany Mayor. Willie Adams, Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard, USGS Southeast Region Director Jess Weaver and Southeast River Forecast Center Hydrologist-in-Charge John Feldt announced the new service.
"Flooding is a real and continuing danger in south Georgia, especially along the Flint River in Albany and Dougherty County," said Joel Lanier, senior service hydrologist for the NWS forecast office in Tallahassee, Fla. Lanier also noted many lessons were learned from the devastating Albert Flood of 1994.
The initial work conducted by the USGS, NWS, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Georgia Emergency Management and Georgia Department of Natural Resources at Georgia Tech to map the 1994 Alberto Flood provided a critical framework and foundation for modeling the Flood Inundation Mapping program.
Since the 1994 flood, the NWS, the USGS and the City of Albany continue to improve and upgrade existing forecasting services. Werkheiser remarked: "We do not want history to repeat itself so we are using today's more accurate tools in order to prepare for flood events before they occur."
Other monitoring tools that provide flood information include streamgages, which provide real time data via satellites to the USGS and NWS for many purposes, including water supply, drought monitoring, and flood warnings. Relative to real time streamgage readings, the Flood Inundation Maps illustrate where floodwaters are expected to travel based upon NWS flood forecasts.
Real time stream flow data is also used for other new flood preparedness tools such as the USGS WaterAlert, StreaMail, and Flint RiverCam. These new tools can verify streamgage readings at remote locations, and can text or email citizens when a critical threshold is reached.
Brian McCallum, assistant director of the USGS Georgia Water Science Center adds, "The new Flood Inundation Map product combined with WaterAlert and RiverCam will allow citizens to make informed decisions during severe floods."
Together these new tools provide critical information to emergency management officials enabling greater flood preparedness. In addition, the Flood Inundation Map tool will facilitate more detailed forecasts of impacts and will enable emergency personnel from FEMA, state agencies, and local agencies to make quick decisions about when and how to evacuate residents threatened by rising floodwaters.
This new Flood Inundation Mapping service is being developed nationwide, in response to increasing demands for graphical visualizations of hydrologic forecasts. Albany, Georgia is the 57th site nationwide to be established, and the first site setup in the State of Georgia.