NOAA Expands Coastal Storm Inland Flooding Prediction Tool

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Coastal Services Center and National Weather Service, working in partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Sea Island Software, Inc., announced on Feb. 24 they have developed an enhanced inland flooding forecast component to HURREVAC, a computer program used by government emergency managers.

These updates will address the growing threat of damages due to flooding caused by coastal storms and will allow emergency management personnel to quickly compare flood inundation maps with forecasts of rainfall and river levels.

The enhanced version of HURREVAC includes real-time NOAA National Weather Service river forecast information from 1,052 forecast points in a total of 22 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Additionally 49 new maps have been added to HURREVAC, bringing the number of maps covering coastal states from Maine to Texas to a total of 346. The expansion will improve the capabilities for coastal emergency planners to help facilitate better planning, decision-making, and response efforts to manage impacts of inland flooding. NOAA is currently developing 35 additional inundation maps for Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Derived from the words hurricane evacuation, HURREVAC is a restricted use computer program used by more than 4,450 official government emergency managers. The software combines FEMA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hurricane evacuation study data with current weather forecast data from the NOAA National Weather Service.

"We are very pleased to be able to continue the expansion of the services that HURREVAC brings to coastal managers," said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., PhD, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. "One of NOAA's central missions is to serve society's needs for weather and water information so that we can enhance the ability to plan and respond to natural events such as flooding caused by coastal storms."

The Coastal Services Center is part of the National Ocean Service which is an office of the NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department. NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources.


Coastal Services Center:

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.

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