Call for Flood Photos Across Central Iowa

The National Weather Service Forecast Office in Des Moines, Iowa is compiling a database of flood impacts within their respective Hydrologic Service Area (HSA).  River basins within the Des Moines HSA include:

  • Des Moines and its tributaries
    • Raccoon River
      • North Raccoon River
      • Middle Raccoon River
      • South Raccoon River
    • East Fork Des Moines River
    • Boone River
    • Beaver Creek
    • Walnut Creek
    • Fourmile Creek
    • North River
    • Middle River
    • South River
    • Cedar Creek
    • White Breast Creek
    • English Creek
  • Cedar River and its tributaries
    • Winnebago River
    • Shell Rock River
    • Beaver Creek
    • Blackhawk Creek
    • West Fork Cedar River
  • Iowa River and tributaries
    • South Fork Iowa River
  • South Skunk River and tributaries
    • Squaw Creek
    • Indian Creek
  • Chariton River and tributaries
    • South Fork Chariton River
    • Thompson River
    • East Fork 102 River

For more information on the locations of these rivers, please refer to the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service on the Des Moines National Weather Service homepage.

 When submitting flood photos, please reference the location where the picture was taken, the time and date of the picture, and the specific river or creek name.

The National Weather Service uses pictures for research, education, and to improve upon the quality of their river forecast products to better serve the public, other governmental agencies, and private companies.   The National Weather Service will give credit to the photographer if your photo is used externally.

With the expected flooding across central Iowa, it would be a tremendous help to the National Weather Service with submitting photos of impacts from the river basins mentioned above or their respective smaller tributaries.  Some examples of the type of pictures we are requesting are on the second page.  We are looking for specific impacts due to river flooding.  For instance, if the river covers a bridge or a road, floods a residential or commercial building(s), affects a significant amount of farmland, and any other impacts that you think would be pertinent.  This would include flooding due to ice jams and snow melt.

Please submit pictures via email to DMX.Spotterreport@noaa.gov with the subject titled Impact Flooding Pictures or post the images on our Facebook Page  or Tweet to us @NWSDesMoines

A hard copy or copies are always welcome and can be sent to our office:     9607 NW Beaver Drive, Johnston, IA 50131

Beaver Creek on NW 62nd Avenue in Johnston, IA. Photo taken approximately 10:30 a.m. on June 1, 2008.  Photo by Anne Taylor

Beaver Creek on NW 62nd Avenue in Johnston, IA. Photo taken approximately 10:30 a.m. on June 1, 2008. Photo by Anne Taylor

Iowa River at Rowan on March 16, 2010 along 200th street. Flood due to snow melt.

Iowa River at Rowan on March 16, 2010 along 200th street. Flood due to snow melt.

Des Moines River at Highway T17 just south of Pella in Marion County, IA. Photo taken on June 19, 2008 at approximately 1 p.m. CDT

Des Moines River at Highway T17 just south of Pella in Marion County, IA. Photo taken on June 19, 2008 at approximately 1 p.m. CDT

Iowa River on Highway 14 just north of Marshalltown on June 8, 2008 at 6:43 p.m. CDT. Photo by Wayne Fass

Iowa River on Highway 14 just north of Marshalltown on June 8, 2008 at 6:43 p.m. CDT. Photo by Wayne Fass

 

Des Moines Weather Forecast Office Hydrologic Service Area. If you have any photos near any of these Forecast or Data Points, please submit them to DMX.spotterreport@noaa.gov

Des Moines Weather Forecast Office Hydrologic Service Area. If you have any photos near any of these Forecast or Data Points, please submit them to DMX.spotterreport@noaa.gov or send them via Twitter or Facebook.

NWS Des Moines Recollects on the 2008 Record Flood

Total precipitation from June 1 to June 15, 2008. Map courtesy of Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC). http://mrcc.isws.illinois.edu/

Total precipitation from June 1 to June 15, 2008. Map courtesy of Midwestern Regional Climate Center (MRCC). http://mrcc.isws.illinois.edu/

This is the Union Pacific Bridge over the Cedar River in Waterloo. The bridge was partially damaged by the record flooding back in June of 2008. The crest at Waterloo was 27.01 feet on June 11, 2008. Previous record was 21.86 feet on March 29, 1961.

This is the Union Pacific Bridge over the Cedar River in Waterloo. The bridge was partially damaged by the record flooding back in June of 2008. The crest at Waterloo was 27.01 feet on June 11, 2008. Previous record was 21.86 feet on March 29, 1961. Image courtesy of Morgan Hawthorne – Waterloo Courier.Des Moines River at 2nd Avenue looking downstream. Photo taken by Ken Podrazik/Karl Jungbluth on June 12, 2008. The crest at this location was 31.57 feet and occurred on Friday June 13, 2008. The record crest was 31.71 feet on July 11, 1993.

Des Moines River at 2nd Avenue looking downstream. Photo taken by Ken Podrazik/Karl Jungbluth on June 12, 2008. The crest at this location was 31.57 feet and occurred on Friday June 13, 2008. The record crest was 31.71 feet on July 11, 1993.
DMOI4-June12-2008-resize

Rocking Chair 2nd and Hickman

The blue circle on the Google map above is location of this picture directly below it. This was taken along the Des Moines River on the corner of 2nd Avenue and Hickman Road in downtown Des Moines which is the location of the USGS river gauge and river forecast point DMOI4. The picture was taken on June 12, 2008, around 1530 UTC (10:30 a.m. CDT). The stage at 1100 UTC (6 a.m. CDT) that morning was 28.89 feet, while the stage the following morning on the 13th was 31.17 feet at 1100 UTC (6 a.m. CDT). The flow was 48,100 CFS on the morning of the 12th, and increased to 51,300 CFS by the morning of the 13th. Another way to see CFS is to relate cubic feet to a basketball. So, imagine a wall of 51,300 basketballs (1 basketball = 1 cubic foot) flowing past the rocking chair every second. The distance from the bank of the river to the blue circle is nearly the length of a football field. The Des Moines River crested at 31.57 feet on the 13th at around 1800 UTC (1 p.m. CDT), which eventually rose further up the driveway engulfing the location of the rocking chair.

Video of the Des Moines River on June 19, 2008 at the USGS river gauge in Tracy, Iowa (TRCI4). The flow, measured in cubic feet per second (CFS), was 85,600 and the height of the river was 22.4 feet. The crest of 23.70 feet occurred on June 14, 2008, but this was a great example of what 85,000 CFS looked like up close. The video was taken on an old railroad bridge right by the wire weight, which is seen at the beginning and end of the video.  At this site, the USACE estimated that the crest would have been 3 to 4 feet higher if there was no Red Rock Reservoir.

Meteorologist Ken Podrazik helps save the Marshalltown NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter from the Iowa River Flooding. June 9, 2008. Photo by Dave Reese - ESA

Meteorologist Ken Podrazik helps rescue the Marshalltown NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter from the Iowa River Flooding. June 9, 2008. Photo by Dave Reese – ESA Dave Reese - NWS Des Moines Electronics Systems Analysts treads flooded water from the Iowa River at Marshalltown. The small building at the right is where the Marshalltown NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter is located. There was already about a foot of flood water into the building. Photo taken June 9, 2008 by Ken Podrazik.

Dave Reese – NWS Des Moines Electronics Systems Analysts treads flooded water from the Iowa River at Marshalltown. The small building at the right is where the Marshalltown NOAA Weather Radio Transmitter is located. There was already about a foot of flood water into the building. Photo taken June 9, 2008 by Ken Podrazik.
The NWS Des Moines Office on June 9, 2008. Roger Vachalek on the left and Rich Kinney (now at DVN) on the right.

The NWS Des Moines Office on June 9, 2008. Roger Vachalek on the left and Rich Kinney (now at NWS Quad Cities) on the right. The NWS Des Moines meteorologists put multiple long days during the month of June 2008 including staffing the State Emergency Operations Center 24-hours a day for a 10 day period during the height of the flood.

The Cedar River Basin was hit the hardest with several record crests that occurred in mid-June of 2008.  The Des Moines and Iowa River Basin received moderate to major flooding, but few records were set in 2008.

Cedar River Basin crest records set in 2008.

Cedar River Basin crest records set in 2008.

Flood stages raised since 2008.

Flood stages raised since 2008.

Main Street Bridge in Cedar Falls, Iowa in mid-June 2008. Photo courtesy of Gaylen Isely

Main Street Bridge in Cedar Falls, Iowa in mid-June 2008. Photo courtesy of Gaylen Isely

Waverly, Iowa in mid-June 2008. Photo courtesy Reynolds Cramer.

Waverly, Iowa in mid-June 2008. Photo courtesy Reynolds Cramer.

A few other locations, other than in the Cedar Basin, set new crest records. However, two of these set new records in 2010.

A few other locations, other than in the Cedar Basin, set new crest records. However, two of these set new records in 2010.
The Des Moines River over Highway 65 southeast of Des Moines on June 14, 2008. Photo courtesy of the Civil Air Patrol.

The Des Moines River over Highway 65 southeast of Des Moines on June 14, 2008. Photo courtesy of the Civil Air Patrol.

Hydrograph (in cubic feet per second-CFS) of the Cedar River at Waterloo during the month of June 2008.   The crest was roughly 104,000 CFS or cubic feet per second on June 11, 2008. To visualize what CFS, a cubic foot is roughly the size of a basketball or a gallon jug of milk. Imagine a wall of 104,000 basketballs/milk jubs each second flowing past a certain point on the river. Pretty impressive.

Hydrograph (in cubic feet per second-CFS) of the Cedar River at Waterloo during the month of June 2008. The crest was roughly 104,000 CFS or cubic feet per second on June 11, 2008. To visualize what CFS, a cubic foot is roughly the size of a basketball or a gallon jug of milk. Imagine a wall of 104,000 basketballs/milk jubs each second flowing past a certain point on the river. Pretty impressive.

New Flood Preparedness Tool Available for Waterloo

LogoCombos-NWS-ALO-IFC

June 11, 2014 Jeff Zogg
Nathan Young
Jamie Knutson
515-270-4501
319-384-1732
319-291-4312
jeff.zogg@noaa.gov
nathan-young@uiowa.edu
jamie.knutson@waterloo-ia.org

A dynamic, new online flood preparedness tool which will help emergency managers improve flood warnings and response has been developed for the Cedar River at Waterloo, Iowa.

The National Weather Service collaborated with the Iowa Flood Center to develop a library of flood inundation maps.  The final version of these flood inundation maps are the culmination of a partnership between the Iowa Flood Center (IFC), the City of Waterloo, the NOAA Central Region – Regional Collaboration Team and the National Weather Service (NWS).  This capability will help communicate the residual flood risks for areas behind the city’s levee and the additional flooding from Black Hawk Creek, a tributary to the Cedar.

Because this new tool is so critical during floods, it is available from two sources.  The first source is the NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) Web site.  On the AHPS page for the Cedar River at Waterloo, click on the tab near the top of the page named “Inundation Mapping.”  The direct link is http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/inundation/inundation_google.php?gage=aloi4 .  The second source is the Iowa Flood Center’s Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS).  The direct link is http://ifis.iowafloodcenter.org/ifis/en/ .  Go to the Flood Maps section on the right hand side of the page and select Waterloo.

Flood inundation maps help people visualize the potential extent of flooding at various river levels.  This information can assist in planning and mitigation decisions.

Dr. Nathan Young, Associate Director of the Iowa Flood Center, said the IFC has been developing flood inundation maps since the IFC’s inception in 2009.  “This is an opportunity for us to apply research that is useful and meaningful for Iowans,” he said.  “These detailed maps demonstrate the extent of the flooded landscape with every twelve-inch rise in the flood level.  We believe this information will empower communities and individuals to make informed decisions about their flood risks.”

Jeff Zogg, Senior Hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Des Moines, said the development of the Waterloo flood inundation maps was a team effort which resulted in valuable tools for people in the Waterloo area.  “Many people worked together to make these maps available.  We especially appreciate the involvement of local community officials in Waterloo.  These maps will help the NWS provide enhanced decision support services to people there.”

Jamie Knutson, Waterloo Flood Engineer said that the flood inundation maps will be valuable for multiple reasons.  “The flood inundation maps will allow for better long range planning and allow for better decision making early on in the flood for which areas may need to be evacuated.  This will be a nice addition to our flood fighting tools.”

The National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories.  The National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and to enhance the national economy.  The NWS provides decision support services as well as enhanced services to local, state, and regional decision makers.  For other locations where flood inundation maps are available see the National Weather Service AHPS Web site.

The Iowa Flood Center is part of IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering, a research institute based at the University of Iowa’s College of Engineering.  The IFC provides accurate, state-of-the-science-based information to help Iowans better understand their flood risks.  It is the nation’s first academic center devoted solely to the study of floods.  Additional IFC resources—including flood inundation maps for other Iowa communities—can be found on the Iowa Flood Center Web site.

The City of Waterloo has 20 miles of levees and flood walls to help protect its citizens from the Cedar River.  In order to operate the levee system, a number of different City departments are involved during a flood including Engineering, Public Works, Waste Management, Leisure Services, Police and Fire.  More information about the City of Waterloo and its departments can be found on the City of Waterloo Web site.

The Waterloo flood inundation maps are based on observations and forecasts involving readings from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) stream gage along the Cedar River at Waterloo.  More information about USGS streamgaging in Iowa is available on the USGS Iowa Water Science Center Web site.

PDF Version: NWS News Release for Waterloo Inundation Maps

===================================================================================

The National Weather Service is working with its partners to build a Weather-Ready Nation to support community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather.  Visit http://www.weather.gov/desmoines, and follow us on Twitter @NWSDesMoines and on Facebook.

New Flood Preparedness Tool Available for Cedar Falls

LogoCombos-NWS-CED-IFC

June 11, 2014 Jeff Zogg
Nathan Young
Marty Ryan
515-270-4501
319-384-1732
319-273-8606
jeff.zogg@noaa.gov
nathan-young@uiowa.edu
marty.ryan@cedarfalls.com

A dynamic, new online flood preparedness tool which will help emergency managers improve flood warnings and response has been developed for the Cedar River at Cedar Falls, Iowa.

The National Weather Service collaborated with the Iowa Flood Center to develop a library of flood inundation maps for the Cedar River.  The final version of these flood inundation maps are the culmination of a partnership between the Iowa Flood Center (IFC), the City of Cedar Falls, the NOAA Central Region – Regional Collaboration Team and the National Weather Service (NWS).  This capability will help communicate the flood risks for areas along the Cedar River.

Because this new tool is so critical during floods, it is available from two sources.  The first source is the NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) Web site.  On the AHPS page for the Cedar River at Cedar Falls, click on the tab near the top of the page named “Inundation Mapping.”  The direct link is http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/inundation/inundation_google.php?gage=cedi4 .  The second source is the Iowa Flood Center’s Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS).  The direct link is http://ifis.iowafloodcenter.org/ifis/en/ .  Go to the Flood Maps section on the right hand side of the page and select Cedar Falls.

 Flood inundation maps help people visualize the potential extent of flooding at various river levels.  This information can assist in planning and mitigation decisions.

 Dr. Nathan Young, Associate Director of the Iowa Flood Center, said the IFC has been developing flood inundation maps since the IFC’s inception in 2009.  “This is an opportunity for us to apply research that is useful and meaningful for Iowans,” he said.  “These detailed maps demonstrate the extent of the flooded landscape with every twelve-inch rise in the flood level.  We believe this information will empower communities and individuals to make informed decisions about their flood risks.”

 Jeff Zogg, Senior Hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Des Moines, said the development of the Cedar Falls flood inundation maps was a team effort which resulted in valuable tools for people in the Cedar Falls area.  “Many people worked together to make these maps available.  We especially appreciate the involvement of local community officials in Cedar Falls.  These maps will help the NWS provide enhanced decision support services to people there.”

 Marty Ryan, Cedar Falls City Planner, echoes those sentiments as applied to Cedar Falls.  “Public safety personnel and utilities service personnel can utilize these maps to assist with proper evacuation protocols when necessary or otherwise ensure that critical utility services are not compromised or cause any public safety concerns during flood events.”

 The National Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories.  The National Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and to enhance the national economy.  The NWS provides decision support services as well as enhanced services to local, state, and regional decision makers.  For other locations where flood inundation maps are available see the National Weather Service AHPS Web site.

 The Iowa Flood Center is part of IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering, a research institute based at the University of Iowa’s College of Engineering.  The IFC provides accurate, state-of-the-science-based information to help Iowans better understand their flood risks.  It is the nation’s first academic center devoted solely to the study of floods.  Additional IFC resources—including flood inundation maps for other Iowa communities—can be found on the Iowa Flood Center Web site.

 The City of Cedar Falls has critical river levees protecting the downtown area, the City wastewater treatment plant and Cedar Falls Utilities.  The City will upgrade its downtown levee next year to increase the flood protection level.  More information about the City of Cedar Falls and its departments can be found on the City of Cedar Falls Web site.

 The Cedar Falls flood inundation maps are based on observations and forecasts involving readings from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) stream gage along the Cedar River at Cedar Falls.  More information about USGS streamgaging in Iowa is available on the USGS Iowa Water Science Center Web site.

PDF Version: NWS News Release for Cedar Falls Inundation Maps

==================================================================================

The National Weather Service is working with its partners to build a Weather-Ready Nation to support community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather.  Visit http://www.weather.gov/desmoines, and follow us on Twitter @NWSDesMoines and on Facebook.

New Upgrades to the Des Moines Radar

A new software upgrade has been installed at the Des Moines WSR-88D radar that will enable the radar to obtain low level scans more frequently in severe weather events. Previously, the WSR-88D scanned the atmosphere at progressively higher angles to create a 3D profile of a storm. These scans would begin at 0.5 degrees above the horizon (the lowest angle possible) and end at a maximum angle of 19.5 degrees. These scans form what is known as a Volume Coverage Pattern, or VCP. This maximum angle can vary depending on the distance the storms are from the radar. Last year, a feature called AVSET (Automatic Volume Scan Elevation Termination) was installed that allows the radar to automatically restart a VCP if the radar beam travels above the storms.

With this latest upgrade, a new feature called SAILS (Supplemental Adaptive Intra-Volume Low‐Level Scan) will enable the radar to insert an additional 0.5 degree scan in the middle of a VCP. See the illustrations below for more details.

Why is this Important?

When it comes to severe weather, frequent low-level radar scans are crucial to observe the development of tornadoes, which can form in a matter of seconds. Thus, with SAILS the NWS to be able to observe rapidly changing weather phenomenon with a greater degree of precision and issue more timely severe weather warnings. Currently, the WSR-88D radar completes its lowest scan in 3 to 4.5 minutes (during severe weather), depending on the range of the storms from the radar (AVSET). With SAILS, the radar will now perform this low-level scan every 1.8 to 2.5 minutes, giving us low-level data almost twice as fast as before.

Other New Features

This upgrade will also bring several new enhancements besides SAILS. One new addition will be a radial noise filter, which will greatly reduce the “spikes” seen on the radar image at sunrise and sunset (see example from the Minneapolis radar below). Another new feature will enable the radar to automatically determine the best settings for viewing velocity data for the strongest storms in the radar’s coverage area.

A “sun spike” removed from the Minneapolis radar while radars to the north and south (which had not been upgraded yet) still contain these spikes.

(Courtesy of the Minneapolis NWS)

Click here for technical details on SAILS

Iowa Heat Awareness Day – June 5, 2014

The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division, and the National Weather Service have declared June 5, 2014 as Heat Awareness Day in Iowa. Extreme heat is a seasonal hazard in Iowa which is often underestimated. Did you know that heat is the number one weather-related killer? Understanding heat safety is important and can save lives.

Summertime in Iowa means two things: heat and humidity. These two weather parameters combine to create the Heat Index (Apparent Temperature), which is an accurate measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is combine with the actual air temperature. The combination of extreme heat and humidity conspire to tax the human body beyond its natural cooling abilities. Heat related deaths account for many deaths and injuries each year.

Vehicle Safety

HotCar

Above: Thermometer set in car to record temperature
Bottom: High temperature recorded in car

Just how hot can the interior of a car become? To find out, last year we placed a thermometer inside a car parked outside in the sun during a full work day. The high temperatures on the day we conducted our experiment only reached 80°F. However! The interior temperature in the car reach 117°F! A car with the windows cracked showed a similar temperature rise. Even on a relatively mild day, the interior of a car can become dangerously hot for children or pets left unattended. Never leave children or pets unattended in a car, even for short periods of time. Remember: Beat the Heat, Check the Back Seat!

backseatboy2

What is the Heat Index?

The Heat Index (HI) is sometimes referred to as the “apparent temperature” and is a measure of how hot it feels outside to the human body. The HI includes the influence of both the actual air temperature and relative humidity. The body dissipates almost 90% of its heat through sweat but sweating by itself does nothing to cool the body unless the water is removed by evaporation, and high relative humidity hinders evaporation.

heatindex

To figure out the HI, reference the Heat Index Chart and find the intersection of the air temperature and relative humidity. The shaded zones on the chart correspond to the probabilities of developing heat-related disorders. Heat disorders are generally a result of the body’s inability to shed excess heat by sweating or a chemical (salt) imbalance caused by too much sweating. When heat gain exceeds the level the body can remove, or when the body cannot compensate for fluids and salt lost through perspiration, the temperature of the body’s inner core begins to rise and heat-related illness may develop. The table explains the risk to the body from continued exposure to excessive heat and is color coded to match the HI chart shown.

HeatDisorders

 

More information can be found:
Heat and Heat Safety (pdf)
NWS Des Moines Heat Safety
NWS Heat Safety (Español)