U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Gary Peters, D-Mich., introduced the Flood Level Observation, Operations, and Decision Support (FLOODS) Act to establish a National Integrated Flood Information System. The legislation would improve the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) forecasting and communication of flood, tornado, and hurricane events.

“Flooding is a common and deadly natural disaster in the U.S., resulting in over $25 billion in annual economic losses,” said Wicker. “Recent events in my home state of Mississippi, such as the prolonged opening of the Bonnet Carré spillway and the Pearl River and Yazoo backwater floods, underscore the importance of an effective understanding and response to high water. This legislation would protect lives and property by directing NOAA to improve its flood monitoring, forecasting, and communication efforts. I am eager to see the measure advance for Mississippians and all Americans who face dangers caused by flooding.”

“Unexpected severe flooding has too often upended the lives of families and hard-working men and women across the U.S., including in Michigan,” said Peters. “This bipartisan legislation would help protect families and small businesses along high-risk shorelines and other communities by modernizing flood forecasts to provide more timely, actionable information, and I look forward to building additional support for this bill.”

The Flood Level Observation, Operations, and Decision Support Act would:

  • Establish a “National Integrated Flood Information System” to coordinate and integrate flood research at NOAA;
  • Establish partnerships with institutions of higher education and federal agencies to improve total water predictions;
  • Designate a service coordination hydrologist at each National Weather Service River Forecast Center to increase impact-based decision support services at State and local level;
  • Evaluate and improve flood watches and warnings and communication of information to support coordinated flood management;
  • Encourage NOAA to evaluate acoustic tracking and measuring of windstorms, use aerial surveys of floodwaters to improve flood mapping, and improve modeling of freshwater outflow into the ocean;
  • Establish a Committee to ensure coordination of Federal Departments with joint or overlapping responsibilities in water management.

Click here to read the bill.

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Release from U.S. Senate Commerce Committee.