Planning and Implementing a Wide Area Flood Warning System: The IFLOWS Experience

by Albert S. Kachic, Natl Weather Service, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Computerized Decision Support Systems for Water Managers


The Integrated Flood Observing and Warning System (IFLOWS) is an interactive hydrometeorological data collection and processing system. It consists of three major subsystems; data acquisition, communications, and operational applications. The concept of IFLOWS is a coordinated Federal-State-County response to the flash flood problem. The program would try to mitigate the problem by improving heavy precipitation forecasts and warning lead times, more intensive and organized community involvement, and the development of long term measures to reduce flood damages by flood plain management and structures. Each level, federal, state, and county had an assigned responsibility outlined in a memorandum of understanding. A number of problems surfaced during the early implementation phase of IFLOWS. There were difficulties in procurement because of either state or federal regulations, difficulty in obtaining right of way for sensors and communication towers, and user unfriendly computers that made it difficult to train county flash flood coordinators and to keep them operating. Today, there are seven states, 164 counties, 28 NWS offices, and six federal agencies directly or indirectly involved with IFLOWS.

Subject Headings: Disaster warning systems | Floods | Interactive systems | Data collection | Federal government | Flash floods | Hydrologic data | Hydrometeorology

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