Julia Poska| September 7, 2018
Citizens of Iowa know that with heavy rainfall comes flooding. The last few weeks of rain have served as a very real reminder around the state.
The Iowa Flood Center is a great source of information on current, forecasted and potential floods. Their Iowa Flood Information System in particular offers tools for researchers, city planners, and even for concerned or curious private citizens.
At first glance, the IFIS may seem overwhelming. Fortunately for the everyday user, the IFIS homepage includes a tutorial video and links to some of the most universally useful features of the system. These basic tools can be layered with additional information like rainfall, national parks and zip code boundaries, if users so choose.
The Inundation Maps feature shows current conditions at IFS water sensors . Zoom in on a selected area of the state and click on a blue “USGS” box along the water to view the water level at that sensor. Click “More Info” to view the level over time. You can play with the slider in the panel to the right to see how higher or lower water levels would affect your community.
The Flood Alerts feature shows flood alerts at different stages, from “action” to “major” across the state. Clicking on the triangular alert symbols pulls up the same information about water level that the Inundation Maps feature does.
The River Communities feature dots the state with purple squares representing communities near rivers. Clicking on each will pull up information about future flood outlook and put a border around the upstream watershed so users can see what may be headed their way.
Use these tools during current and future flood hazards to stay informed, keep safe, or simply marvel at the power of nature and technology.