Iowa Flood Center website helps forecast flood conditions and damage
The Iowa Flood Center said Iowa has seen 13 billion dollars in flood damage the last 30 years, increasing the importance for communities to prepare.
With March being flood awareness month, they are introducing new technology to make that task easier. Their website features the Iowa Flood Information System which gives people up to date information on river conditions and inundation maps. The new technology now allows people to not only see the areas most at risk during a flood event, it allows them to see an estimate of what the damage will cost.
"One of the most important things for us especially during a flooding event is inundation maps, just knowing where that water is going to go," said Sandy Pumphrey, a project engineer with the city of Cedar Rapids.
The City of Cedar Rapids is already making good use of the Iowa Flood Information System also known as IFIS.
"It's very easy to use, very user friendly. It's just a good, quick and easy resource that we can trust," said Pumphrey.
Pumphrey said knowing the potential flood conditions ahead of time can save lives and property.
"We'd be looking at our computer screens constantly to make sure we understand when the peak is going to occur and where it's going to happen," said Pumphrey.
"Having that knowledge at your fingertips is important, not just for businesses but for residents and making sure that they have an exit plan a lot sooner and knowing what's going to happen," said Clifton Trebil-Smith, co-owner of the Iowa Running Company in Cedar Rapids.
Trebil-Smith said he will be keeping an eye on the IFIS site during this flood season.
"It's absolutely valuable. We want to be able to make a quick decision to get our merchandise out of here. We want to be able to protect Newbo," said Trebil-Smith.
"Not only can they anticipate it but they can understand better what the local impacts would be and respond accordingly," said Nathan Young, the associate director of the Iowa Flood Center.
Staff at the Iowa Flood Center are encouraging people to use the new technology, especially in smaller towns that don't have the same resources as cities like Cedar Rapids.
"We live here and all these people are our neighbors so this is a neighbor helping a neighbor," said Witold Krajewski, the director of the Iowa Flood Center.
The Iowa Flood Center says this information is also good for potential home buyers who want to know the flood risk in their new neighborhoods. More information about IFIS can be found at http://ifis.iowafloodcenter.org/ifis/