A Weather Tool to Predict Floods

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) launched a new tool for water prediction this month.

Powered by a supercomputer, the National Water Model (NWM) will greatly improve NOAA's water flow forecasts for 2.7 million streams across the continental U.S. This highly sophisticated model includes forecasts for snow melt, soil moisture, surface runoff and other important factors in flooding.

Information from the model helps the National Weather Service predict the when and where of potential flooding, It will also help predict how deep the flooding might be.

As part of NOAA's Water Initiative, the new model is part of a program to help communities and businesses prepare for and respond to severe weather. The NWM will be used along with National Ocean Service coastal models to improve forecasts for coastal areas as well.

Forecasts can be done in short range (1-15 hours), medium range (1-10 days) and long range (30-day) cycles.

As the 2016 flood in Louisiana shows, better flooding predictions may help to save lives. And getting the information to emergency management folks will help them station people in place to assist immediately.

In addition to floods, the NWS will help with drought predictions and be valuable to agriculture, river transportation, hydropower generators, water suppliers and more.

This is an instance where your tax dollars really are at work.



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