The University of Iowa on Monday marked the one year anniversary of the high water mark of last year’s flood. President Sally Mason used the occasion to announce federal funding that will support U-I research of a new flood warning system.
"These studies will not only lead to greater understanding of flood-related phenomena but also help to alleviate effects of future floods here and throughout the world," Mason said.
Larry Weber, director of the U-I Hydrological Lab, says predictions of how high the water would get last year were sketchy at best. "Having that stair-stepping resulted in a lack of public confidence in the forecast because it kept going up and didn’t allow people to really plan as they could have," Weber said.
The new University of Iowa flood forecasting project would place gauges into smaller streams that feed into larger rivers, like the Iowa and Cedar. "As rainfall lands on surfaces, it flows into our streams and rivers and flows out of the basins exactly how high the flood will occur and what time it will occur," Weber said.
U-I researchers are just beginning to develop the flood warning system, but say it will be a critical tool when it comes to preparing homes and businesses for rising rivers.