The US National Weather Service Launches a New Website for Flood Forecast Data

Floods are one of the most common and devastating natural disasters in the world. Every year, they cause thousands of deaths, millions of displacements, and billions of dollars in damages. To help agencies, communities, and individuals prepare for and respond to flood events, the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) has launched a new website that provides comprehensive and timely flood forecast data.

The new website, called the National Water Prediction Service (NWPS) portal, centralizes data from the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) and the Office of Water Prediction (OWP) and provides faster updates of hydrographs, which depict water level observations and forecasts in a single graphic. The portal also includes a National Water Model (NWM), which offers guidance for the first time to ungauged areas of streams and creeks nationwide. This hydrologic modeling framework simulates observed and forecast streamflow over the continental U.S. and covers approximately 3.4 million additional river reaches or areas that do not have river gauges.

The NWPS portal is designed to meet the needs of various users, such as emergency managers, water resource managers, public health officials, and the general public. Users can access the portal through a web browser or a mobile device and customize their view by selecting different layers, basins, and parameters. Users can also tap into Flood Inundation Mapping services that currently cover 10% of the country and show the extent and depth of flood waters on the ground.

The NWPS portal is a result of years of collaboration and innovation among the NWS, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and other federal, state, and local partners. The portal leverages the latest advances in hydrologic science, data assimilation, and computational technology to provide more accurate and reliable flood forecasts and warnings. The portal also supports the NWS’s Weather-Ready Nation initiative, which aims to build community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events.

The table below summarizes the main data sources and features of the NWPS portal:

Data Source Feature Description
AHPS Hydrographs Graphs that show water level observations and forecasts for a specific location along a river
OWP NWM A hydrologic modeling framework that simulates observed and forecast streamflow over the continental U.S.
USGS Flood Event Viewer A web tool that provides information and data associated with short-term, storm-event-based collection efforts
USACE Flood Inundation Mapping A web service that shows the extent and depth of flood waters on the ground

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