Flood prediction models are getting better, which is good news considering that the frequency of major weather events is on the rise. Hurricanes in particular seem to be increasingly common and severe, which has caused a spike in coastal and localized flooding. In 2016 alone, over 17 states experienced a major flood, but thanks to the early warnings from improved flood prediction models, the death toll from these events has been reduced.
One of the reasons for the improvement is an increased investment in predictive technology, especially sensors and flood gauges that have the ability to analyze conditions in order to deliver early warnings of impending disasters. These early warnings can then be translated into flood alerting. Having this “heads-up” benefits not only local residents, but also local utility companies because it enables them to be prepared and get a jump start on activating and staffing the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) or Incident Command Center.
The Development of Flood Prediction Models
Much of the work around flood prediction models is being forged by the National Hydrologic Warning Council (NHWC), which is 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.”
Of course, generating an early warning and alerting the local population about the danger is only half the battle – residents in at-risk areas must take the appropriate action whenever these early warnings are communicated. In the future, compliance should be able to be increased by making smart use of social media channels, and providing interactive maps that visually show local flood threats.
For more details on the benefits of flood prediction models, click here.