Engineers at the Iowa Flood Center are developing a computer mapping program to predict how far flood waters will reach into various communities. Director Larry Weber says the flood inundation maps present a mathematical representation of the geometry of the river. A user can adjust the river’s flow and height, as well as various governmental mitigation strategies, to determine the reach of flood waters.

“You can go to the inundation maps and visually see those gauge readings today or three days from now or five days from now – exactly the extents of the inundation in your neighborhood,” Weber said. The new map models are built on a Google maps background. Weber says the website can even predict the chances of a home being flooded. He pointed out an area on the Iowa River located in a 100 year flood plain.

“If you’re going to purchase a home in this area, you have about a one in four chance of your home being flooded over the life of your mortgage,” Weber said. Maps have been created for the Iowa City/Coralville area, Cedar Falls and Waterloo. Maps for Des Moines and Cedar Rapids will likely be finished by the end of the year.

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By Jami Brinton, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids