National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


Major flooding occurred along the St. Johns River in Florida in August of 2008.  During a post-flood meeting with local emergency managers and water management officials in January 2009 a number of questions were raised relating to basic NWS operations such as who issues the official forecast, when are forecasts updated, etc.   One of the action items of this meeting was to create a basic informational learning resource that quickly and easily could inform emergency managers on critical hydrological information "before the flood.” The Before the Flood web resource provides clear and concise information, in a question and answer format that can be universally applied across most of the country.  The format is intentionally fairly simple to allow for decision-makers to obtain critical information during the “heat of the battle.”  The multimedia design allows for a more personal interactive touch to the learning source.  NWS hydrologic forecasts can only be fully utilized if users can clearly understand them.  This web resource can be used as a WFO Decision Support tool either well before a flood as a reference immediately before, or even during an on-going flood. Our intent in the Before the Flood web resource is to enhance the understanding of the NWS flood forecasting process and lead to more effective decision making. For more information, contact 

Jeffrey Dobur

SERFC Senior Hydrologist