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High waters marked

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Posted: Apr 1, 2014 10:53 AM by Meteorologist Josh Eachus
Updated: Apr 2, 2014 6:28 AM
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Topics: weather, flooding, NASA, satellite

Homes evacuated, residents rescued, cars stranded-images often associated with flooding. In some ways, that hit close to home last Friday. Torrential rains of 6-8" fell Thursday Night leaving a gush of flood water through parts of Wilkinson and Amite Counties by Friday Morning.


Once flood waters recede, images are taken from space in an effort to asses future flood risk and map damage for post-disaster recovery. Providing a visible snapshot from above, NASA's earth observing satellites show details that help map earth's landmasses before and after natural disasters.

The satellites not only enhance the response efforts for future events but also aid in the forecasting of subsequent events.

Experts say mapping present floods will help predict the likelihood and severity of flooding for particular areas in the future.

NASA imagers also return precipitation measurements which help in flood monitoring. Using these measurements in flood models, scientists can more accurately project surface runoff and river discharge which can lead to flood events.

According to Kasha Patel for Goddard Space Center, International food relief programs even use such maps to find flooded areas and map delivery routes that will safely allow supplies to be delivered to those affected.

A Space Daily article also reports that NASA will take an additional step to improve flood models, later this year. A satellite will be purposed to measure global soil moisture. The Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) mission will dictate the retrieved data to flash flood guidance used by forecasters and meteorologists working to predict floods. Used in conjunction with precipitation forecasts, soil moisture is a key element in flood forecasting. By knowing how much moisture is in the ground, meteorologists can identify how much more it can take.

You can get forecasts from Meteorologist Josh Eachus weekdays on 2une-In from 5-7am and News 2 at Noon from 12-1pm. Additionally, you can get the fastest and latest forecasts and weather news by checking in with wbrz.com/weather, liking Josh on Facebook and following him on Twitter.

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