RiverTrak's risk assessment maps help communities save lives during a flood event by providing data on the extent and depth of flood water. RiverTrak combines maps with functionality that allows a community to develop flood preparedness strategies for any severity of inundation, as well as compile flood risk assessments and coordinate communication efforts with emergency response and the public.
Public interest and the need to be informed rise during an event, when the fewest resources are available to provide detailed situational information. A city can set up a flood preparedness strategy that allows them to choose how to display information from RiverTrak. This allows for a steady, controlled flow of information that can be as detailed as a community requires. By integrating inundation maps with existing GIS technology, RiverTrak can also provide flood risk assessment information to define evacuation areas, and educate the public about the risks of extreme flooding.
Receive notifications of threshold stage levels
RiverTrak provides a flood warning notification to any pre-identified personnel when a gage reaches a threshold level on the system's real-time floodplain map. For all Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS) gages, the National Weather Service's (NWS) predetermined stages are: Action, Flood, Moderate, and Major. RiverTrak's flood warning and notification system has the ability to contact users via email or text at any point in which the river reaches the threshold.
Flood events are rarely confined to a single river or even a single region. Often resources from a community, a county, the state, and sometimes the federal government are required. We created RiverTrak as a flood monitoring system that allows multiple people across various locations to be updated on a real-time floodplain map. Since all views of these real-time floodplain maps are publishable to email and pdf, they can be easily shared with personnel in the field and at other locations during a flood warning. Response plan tasks can be assigned and checked as complete, all of which can become a part of the report on a flood alert.
Monitor flood depth locally
During a flood event, emergency managers need to know where flood water is going, and the depths of that water. The RiverTrak flood monitoring system allows a pin to be dropped at a critical location and anytime a user views a map, they can see what the depth is at that selected point. A hover-over or point and click during flood monitoring helps to visualize the depths at critical locations on a flood hazard map, such as intersections, where emergency vehicles may need to pass, or critical facilities that may need to divert equipment to a drier area. By evaluating forecasts and building a response plan with a flood hazard map, a community can minimize damage, increase flood monitoring capabilities, and save lives.
View inundation maps for flood analysis and forecasts.
In order to help communities take advantage of response plans and save lives in flooding events, the RiverTrak disaster management system produces inundation maps for flood analysis forecast values as soon as they are received. Forecasts aren't always perfect for flood analysis, so RiverTrak also provides scenario maps, so that a community can be prepared for effective disaster management even if the real-time depths end up being far greater than what the forecast predicted. Once a notification is triggered, a RiverTrak user can look at the flood forecast for a better understanding of what level of flooding will occur and an analysis of the flood's impact.
Add local rain and river gage data to real-time maps
The United States Geologic Survey (USGS) maintains a system of gages with the National Weather service. RiverTrak uses these gages as a primary source of information on which to build our flood inundation mapping system for your community. However, RiverTrak can also incorporate communities' existing rain gage networks.
Train emergency personnel
Unlike other human and natural disasters that occur more frequently, there can be entire generations of personnel involved in an emergency operations center (EOC) who will have limited experience responding to major flooding in an area. Limited experience means fewer chances for perfect emergency management during floods. RiverTrak can be used for emergency preparedness training in both table-top run-throughs and flood-disaster simulations. A user can create a scenario, or series of scenarios, that incorporates who needs to receive notifications, what the response plans are, and how quickly they can be completed. Knowledge of historical events during emergency management training allows for even more context of what happened, so users can integrate the lessons for future events.
Many communities have already dedicated the personnel and technology to develop detailed layers for streets, sewage, utilities, drainage, and evacuation polygons for disasters. RiverTrak's real-time flood inundation maps can be downloaded as grid-layers and integrated with a community's existing GIS system during emergency management training as well as real-time floods.
Create a response plan for future extreme events
Many of the maps communities use to plan their floodplain mitigation and educate their community about flooding are static and based on a calculated percentage of flood risk. Static maps can easily become outdated, and can be misleading when developing a natural disaster preparedness system. Riverside's dynamic maps allow users to visualize the extent of inundation in real time, but can also show a range of scenarios, based on flood stages to prepare effective floodplain mitigation strategies. The flexibility to visualize worst-case scenarios, puts communities a step ahead in natural disaster preparedness if significant flooding occurs, as problem areas have been identified, and floodplain mitigation plans can be swiftly implemented to reduce impact and increase safety.
The key to effective natural disaster preparedness is having contingencies for a range of scenarios. In addition to real-time inundation mapping, RiverTrak provides a library of scenarios that allows users to investigate possibilities and prepare appropriate response plans for floodplain mitigation. This response planning works in connection with the real-time maps in that, if a threshold level is reached and an emergency manager or other user receives a flood warning notification, they can respond effectively. These desired responses can be easily assigned and communicated through the response team. Critical facilities and other areas that have been monitored based on water depth can also be associated with response plans at certain threshold levels of natural disaster preparedness. Providing communities with the ability to create floodplain mitigation response plans allows for better coordination so that if an event occurs, there is better allocation of personnel to protect property and save lives.
Improve Floodplain Mitigation
One of RiverTrak's most valuable features is flood simulation: the ability to model the extent of historical flooding, and then model an increased volume of flooding to see where the water would have gone had it been incrementally or even substantially higher, at any of the stream gages. The flood modelling system is a valuable tool for those tasked with building the future of our communities and prioritizing projects of mitigation. This feature can also provide valuable flood simulations with visual representations, beneficial when obtaining capital approval, public outreach and documentation. RiverTrak can quickly show the public why there is a need to fund ongoing flood mitigation projects and provide an overview of events that occurred.
After a flood occurs, recovery is one of the most important, and most difficult, tasks a city must undertake. The RiverTrak flood modelling system shows not only the location of receding waters, but also areas that are newly accessible for clean-up, allowing homeowners to get back into their homes sooner. If integrated into an existing GIS program with property details, a city can rapidly calculate the cost of damage. This amounts to quicker reimbursement and can expedite designation as a disaster area.
Communities can receive a discount on flood insurance, from 5% all the way to 45%, based on their Community Rating System (CRS) score from FEMA. We are currently looking to collaborate with communities in the process of improving their FEMA CRS scores in those areas.