Monday, 11 January 2016: 5:15 PM
Room 348/349 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Statistically, flooding is the most devastating natural disaster not only in the US, but in the world. Of the many different hazardous weather events, floods typically cause the most casualties and damage. Within Hazard Services of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, software is being developed and improved for use by the National Weather Service to minimize the catastrophic effects associated with floods. Because flooding is a worldwide event, the new program produced by this Hazard Services project is intended to be used anywhere for the safety of the public. Time is of the essence in a flooding event, and forecasters need to have all relevant information readily available. This project's work provides a script that gives forecasters the tools to issue quick and efficient warnings by creating a catalog of flood prone areas, customized for the regions that each forecast office covers. By ingesting unique geospatial data all at once with a merged file in the form of dams, rivers and burn scars into a database, forecasters can simply choose the polygon and initiate an advisory, watch or warning. Having access to pre-set outlines of dam-break outflow, burn scars, and river inundation is much more efficient than freehand drawing the shape of an area that is expected to flood. Thus, not only does the new program allow faster issuance, but it leaves less room for error and more room for geospatially accurate alerts, resulting in the ultimate goal: more saved lives.
The Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS), the current software used in National Weather Service offices around the nation, is a weather forecasting and analysis tool that allows forecasters to deploy these shapefiles and issue weather alerts. With the shapefiles ingested and organized into their respective tables inside a relational database, forecasters can query the database for their desired shapefile using the Hazard Services plug-in within AWIPS.
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