The National Weather Service (NWS) offers many flood forecast and warning tools that individuals can use during a predicted flood event. From tools that allow users to monitor projected river heights to flood inundation maps that show which areas in the community will be underwater during floods, the capability and accuracy of flood forecasting has increased dramatically in recent years. Despite this, many people still fail to understand and respond properly to flood forecasts and warnings issued by NWS.
Beyond technological advances in forecast lead-time and accuracy already achieved, what else can NWS do to improve its flood forecast and warning tools so they better motivate flood preparedness and warning response? In partnership with Nurture Nature Center (nurturenaturecenter.org), NWS is undertaking a social science research study in the four-state Delaware River Basin. The study will ask individuals living in flood-affected communities to participate in focus group interviews to help answer two questions:
• How do people living in the Delaware River Basin use NWS flood forecast and warning tools in understanding their flood risk?
• How can these tools be improved so they better motivate flood preparedness and warning response?Learn More and
“Given the frequency and intensity of flooding not only in this region, but across the country, improving how people prepare for flooding is critical to reducing losses,” said NNC Director Rachel Hogan Carr. “This project provides an excellent opportunity to help NWS understand how the public uses its flood forecast and warning tools, and what further refinements might improve public preparedness as people respond to news of impending flood events.”
Nurture Nature Center, Inc. is a non-profit organization in Easton, Pennsylvania, with a focus on flooding issues. NNC’s social science project, “Flood Risk and Uncertainty: Assessing the National Weather Service’s Forecast and Warning Tools,” supports NOAA’s new Weather-Ready Nation initiative, designed to help the nation become better equipped to prepare for and respond to weather events.
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