15 February 2014

Flood Warning Index - Update

Flood Warning Index
Thanks to a little help from my great friends, I am happy to show off my Flood Warning Index. Anyone looking for ideas on how to become more prepared for natural disasters please visit: CanamPreppers.net

If you are at all interested in having folks warned before flood waters swamp a town near you, please share this idea with any and all government types - elected or employed. Maybe one will champion this idea and get it into operation before flood season 2014 begins.  

Mountainman.

Well, after speaking with government types and waiting and waiting, it has become evident that if you want something done - you have to do it yourself. Thus the Flood Warning Index. I touched on this topic briefly in an earlier post. Still no action.

So, not wanting another flood season to pass without action I have taken it upon myself to create my own Flood Warning Index. It has a simple colour code - Gray, Yellow, Orange and Red - flood scale. I am currently having challenges getting my spreadsheet image or PDF to paste into my blog. 

The current method of flood warning requests concerned citizens to goto a government website that monitors stream flow in a given geographic region, then select your river basin system and look at a bunch of numbers refering to the volume of water running in the stream. Unit of measure is cubic metres per second. So, the information is out there, but it is far from user friendly. Most folks do not have the time to learn whether 1000 cubic meters a second is a lot of water or not. Unless you are a hydrologist and study water all the time, these numbers are JUST numbers.

In an emergency situation, one of the first parts of the mind to shutdown are the regions used for higher reasoning. Thus, the part of the mind you need most to decipher a stream flow advisory website during a flood is also one of the first parts of the brain that shuts down. When you need it most it is not available.

Flood Warnings, like Hurricane Warnings, Tornado Warnings, Tsunammi Warnings; needs to be easy and very clear to understand. RED = BAD, YELLOW = PAY ATTENTION.

I will edit and update my blog as soon as I can get an image of the Flood Warning Index I created.

Pay attention, most folks don't,

Mountainman.

Update:


Okay, we have an image to work with for now. This is not ideal, but I will make it work.

The Flood Warning Index contains tools for disaster management folks and the public. How does it work?? Glad you asked.

The Colour Bars on the left edge give the quick flood warning. Red is for floods of extreme volume or extreme speed of change. Gray would be issued with the high stream flow advisory. This lets folks know the rivers, they are a risin'! Yellow and Orange provide increasingly bad conditions of water rising and notify the reduction of time being available to do something about the rising waters.

Flood State is a colour & number system to codify the flood. The 2013 flood of the Highwood River may have been a Red 2 or Red 3. This leaves room for possible worse floods in the future.

Flow Rate is a tool for emegency management types to set the river they manage against the Flood Warning Scale. Thus the amount of water to create a Red 3 flood on the Highwood would barely get the Peace River to the edge of the banks. Thus, the scale can be tailored to each river drainage system, but it has to be done before an event.

Advisory Rate is a recommended time interval between radio annoucements about how much water is in a given river near a given town. The quicker the water levels are rising the more often the townfolks should know what is headed their way. This should continue until peak flow is achieved. After peak flow, this should be monitored, incase weather conditions cause a second rising.

Notice to Move is a method to gauge how ready you the citizen should be in a given flood catagory. You have to use your personal knowledge of your location to know if you need to be gone at the first signs of high water or whether you can wait a few hours.

Readiness is a tool for emergency managers to help decide when to give the notice to evacuate a given location.

Precautions is a suggestion for citizens to be ready to go if forced to evacuate. Of course, local emergency management types could introduce a location specific list for their citizens.

Mitigations is a list of suggestions for making landscapes and communities harder to flood. The lower level floods have more items for the local homeowner, where as, major floods require major projects and co-operation from various government levels and departments.

Finally, Safety & Security is a list of suggestions to be done by the homeowner as they evacuate their property. Local emergency managers could create their own list for their citizens.

Now, we just need to share this idea with those in power, light a match under their butts and get a simple Flood Warning Index into action before the 2014 Flood Season begins. I hope this gets viewed far and wide. Spread the word.

Keep dry out there,

Mountainman.

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