Federal Investment to Support NOAA's Efforts to Predict and Map Floods

An $80 million contract aims to improve efficiency in water models and mapping services

Federal Investment to Support NOAA's Efforts to Predict and Map Floods

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The Department of Commerce and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Water Prediction recently awarded the Next Generation Water Prediction Capability contract to Raytheon, an RTX Business. The $80 million, four-year contract aims to transform water prediction by enabling rapid deployment of advanced water models to provide coupled, continental scale, operational coastal and inland flood forecasting and inundation mapping services.

The contract is for the development of two capabilities:

  • A new Water Resources Modeling framework supporting future versions of the National Water Model with state-of-the-science hydrologic and hydraulic model formulations, and
  • Near real-time, high spatial resolution flood inundation maps and services for nearly 100% of the U.S. population, leveraging both forecasts from National Weather Service River Forecast Centers and operational guidance from the National Water Model.

The contract also requires Raytheon to deliver an integrated, high-resolution hydrographic, topographic and bathymetric geospatial dataset underpinning both the National Water Model and Flood Inundation Mapping service capabilities, and a cloud-hosted Optimization and Evaluation Environment to configure the new National Water Model and Flood Inundation Mapping services. 

These new capabilities aim to create a pathway to operationalize the new models and techniques developed by the Cooperative Institute for Research to Operations in Hydrology, and ultimately will enable broader community engagement as envisioned in NOAA’s Weather, Water and Climate Strategy. In addition to running models that predict streamflow, floods and inundation, the new Water Resources Modeling framework also will provide an avenue to deploy improved models of drought, soil moisture and water quality into operations.

“NOAA’s National Weather Service is taking flood forecasting to the next level,” says Dr. Michael Morgan, the assistant secretary of commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction. “This project is expected to enhance our ability to identify and communicate potential flooding and pass that life-saving information on to emergency managers, decision makers and the public.”

The agency also awarded $7.4 million — of which $1.7 million is Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds — to GAMA-1 Technologies to develop the Hydrologic Visualization and Information Services system in the cloud to serve as the platform for dissemination of high-resolution flood prediction services to the nation. Visit the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law website to learn about other current and future funding opportunities.


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