SURVIVE THE STORM: National Weather Service and MSU working on flood simulation

Published: Mar. 31, 2020 at 10:28 AM CDT
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When talking about severe weather, tornadoes tend to grab most of the headlines. But flooding is more common, more costly, and more deadly! Last year, National Weather Service Meteorologist Doug Cramer began the tedious project of mapping each low-water crossing—AND each one’s drainage area—in hopes of creating an early warning system.

“We’re already starting to see some success with this. We have an idea…a much better understanding of what flood points on our Missouri State highways are more sensitive than other flood points. We’re starting to understand that much better and that’s allowing us to issue more accurate flood warnings.”

This year, he’s enlisted the help of the Missouri State University Innovations Lab to come up with a simulation of a flooded crossing.

“…for us to bring together at the Innovation Lab…to bring together multiple disciplines at the school with outside organizations like the National Weather Service, and work together to create something that hasn’t been done before,” says Tyler Drenon, a Technology Strategist with Missouri State University Libraries.

The team thinks it can create a virtual-reality flooding scenario that could be applied to other crossings, helping officials barricade roads before they flood, and ultimately save lives.