NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IFLOWS DESIGN RECONFIGURATION

The Federal Integrated Flood Observing and Warning System (IFLOWS) is a cooperative venture between the National Weather Service (NWS) and seven flood-prone Appalachian states (KY, NC, NY, PA, TN, VA, and WV). IFLOWS' purpose is to reduce the annual loss of life from flash floods, reduce property damage, and reduce disruption of commerce and human activities. To accomplish these goals IFLOWS uses communications technology and software to collect real time sensor data from remote locations, and disseminate the data among government organizations responsible for public safety.

In 1977, the National Weather Service (NWS) hired a consulting engineer to examine the problem of flash flooding. Flooding experiences in the late 1970's made it obvious that many local officials were unprepared to deal effectively with flash floods, even given advance notice of their occurrence. The contractor's recommendations recognized the need for greater community involvement and better coordination among agencies. The contractor recommended that NWS create a National Flash Flood Progam, which would:

Many of these recommendations were incorporated into the 1978 National Flash Flood Program Development Plan (PDP).

The current day IFLOWS evolved from the prototype described within the PDP. This PDP defines the Federal responsibilities for this program as the party responsible for paying for (1) initial capital equipment and installation costs; (2) major life-cycle equipment replacement and upgrading costs; and (3) improved centralized forecast and analysis facilities. Each participating state/county is responsible for long term operations and maintenance costs of the system and equipment, excluding portions within Federal Government facilities. Each year Federal funds are conveyed to participating States via a Cooperative Agreement. The individual States submit a work plan which includes equipment to be purchased, installation work to be accomplished, and overhead. Funding for the Cooperative Agreements is subject to Congressional appropriations. The IFLOWS Federal/state/local partnership includes the following:

State or Facility Federally supported rain sensors Counties with Sensors Federally supported communities
KY 161 38 30
NC 125 17 20
NY 33 10 6
PA 202 35 33
TN 55 18 0
VA 220 33 41
WV 286 43 43
NWS 20
Total 1082 194 193

IFLOWS was never intended to be, nor is it budgeted as, an exclusively NWS program. The participating states and communities collectively contribute far more manpower and resources to supporting IFLOWS than NWS. Without state and local participation, the Federal government would be unable to support the number of sensors currently installed in the field.

Other possible contacts for funding of this program could be the city/county storm water and public works/ building standards people.

The IFLOWS internet site is located at http://www.afws.net