NWS Rolls Out New ‘Experimental’ Hazard Map That Could Save Your Life


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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The National Weather Service revealed its experimental Flood Inundation Map (FIM) on Tuesday, and it could save your life.

FIM was developed to improve flood warning communication and to aid emergency managers in preparing for, mitigating, and responding to flooding, NWS wrote in their official release statement. Flooding is one of the most frequent weather-related natural disasters, and costs lives and huge sums of money to families and infrastructure stability across the U.S. The new FIM services are designed to anticipate potential flood zones during extreme weather events, and may provide real-time high-resolution, street-level details on where residents can expect flood waters to rise.

“This new inundation modeling capability provides actionable information for emergency and water resource managers to prepare, mitigate and respond to flood impacts,” National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration water center director David Vallee said in the news release. “These services will dramatically improve our ability to provide impact-based decision support services to our partners so they can preposition people and resources ahead of flood events.” (RELATED: As Hurricane Flooding Recedes, Dinosaur-Like Fish Appears)

Only 10% of the U.S. population will be mapped on the service by 2024, but that includes more than 30 million Americans in eastern Texas, the mid-Atlantic, and Northeast, NWS noted. A full-scale national roll out should be available by 2026. NWS hopes a full roll-out of the service would encompass hourly analyses of weather events that lead to flooding. Five-day maximum flood inundation forecasts, as well as river forecasts.