"The 2011 Missouri River Flood: Flood Forecasting - Client Specific Solutions"

2012 Association of State Floodplain Managers Annual Conference, San Antonio, TX
May 23, 2012
By Michael McMahon

A transition is occurring in flood warning and mitigation that is changing the way decision makers think about their actions and the time it takes to warn in the event of flooding. Advances in Quantitative Precipitation Forecasting (QPF) – both in the public and private sector – combined with the ability to rapidly/accurately process Doppler radar information are greatly enabling floodplain managers and their first responders. This type of real-time and forecast guidance has significantly increased their ability to be proactive rather than reactive in regards to flooding concerns. The reliance on these new real-time and forecast methodologies is providing an increase in time-to-warn, while decreasing ongoing costs related to the care and maintenance of traditional warning systems.

Although there has been some application of public weather and warning information in use in flood program management, many floodplain managers have neither experienced, nor even have knowledge of, another level of weather guidance available. This level of guidance can provide flood managers with mission critical information to improve mitigation practices, reduce property damage risks and resulting claims, and greatly increase efficiency of operations and personnel. The National Weather Service and other federal agencies provide a valuable service to the country as a whole, but their mission is to ensure the safety of the masses, not customize real-time and forecast information for one location, one basin or one client. This presentation will discuss the application of customized weather and hydrologic guidance and identify how they can provide game-changing decision support.