11A.3 Communicating Integrated Flood Inundation Information to Emergency Managers/First Responders, Public Sector Decision-Makers, Information Outlets, Communities, Citizens, and Researchers to Increase the Value of Observed Data and Model Forecasts for Flooding Events

Thursday, 11 January 2018: 11:00 AM
Room 17A (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
George Smith, Riverside Technology, Inc., Fort Collins, CO

Riverside Technology, inc. has developed an innovative real-time flood inundation mapping solution known as RiverTrak™, designed for streamlined deployment to rapidly produce dynamic maps of inundation depths and extents and customized to regional watersheds. Riverside is working with the Iowa Flood Center (IFC) and the Colorado State University Environmental Resource Assessment and Mapping System (eRAMS) to serve inundation maps efficiently to a spectrum of customers. Maps are created based on the latest available observed and forecasted gauge values from the National Weather Service or other public or private networks. RiverTrak provides flood inundation model data for historical, real-time, or scenario maps. RiverTrak can integrate with existing hazard mitigation efforts and information technology for areas affected by riverine flooding. eRAMS provides the flow connectivity information and the IFC’s Iowa Flood Information System enables streamlined access for Emergency Managers, planners, and other water managers.

Real time verification of river forecasts and the impact of stream and river flooding can make operational forecast much more useful. Action plans based on high resolution mapped forecasts can used by with greater confidence by Emergency Managers in very stressful, short-fuse situations when they can be validated visually as events unfold. Traditionally, verification data have been derived from sparsely located rain gauges and stream gages, neither of which shows the true impact of the flooding on the built environment and population at-risk. Riverside and the IFC are also working to enhance and deploy remote bridge mounted stream sensors which provide low cost, high reliability stream level data in what are currently data-sparse or data-blind areas. The day is dawning when Emergency Managers and First Responders will have dense stream sensor information to better assess the extent and seriousness of stream and river flooding.

Riverside is now working to augment traditional rain and stream gauge observations and model forecasts with IFC-developed bridge sensors. Plans include integrating images and videos so that Emergency Managers and First Responders will be able to compare images and video with flooded areas simulated by RiverTrak modeling technology for real time assessments and verification of the inundation impacts of observations and forecasts.

Case studies will illustrate the potential and benefit for those requiring this kind of new information.

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