NOAA provides rainfall analysis Web site

The National Weather Service unveiled today a Web site that provides analyses of rainfall, which could help emergency management agencies monitor and respond to floods.

High-quality precipitation analyses used for flood forecasts, drought monitoring and climate trends are available on National Weather Service Web site on a trial basis through June 2006. During this time, the agency of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will collect comments about the analyses and whether they meet users' needs and should be continued beyond the trial period.

The precipitation analysis combines high-resolution radar observations from 150 National Weather Service Doppler radars and measurements from more than 4,000 rain gauges. Data resolution is approximately 2.2 miles, and the analysis is updated daily for the contiguous states and Puerto Rico.

The Web site provides access to graphics of precipitation totals for the previous day, the last seven days, the last 14 days, the current month to date, and the current year to date. Graphics are also available for comparing precipitation estimates to normal precipitation, as a percentage of normal, and departure from normal.

Users have the option of downloading the information shown in these graphics in geographic information systems format as well as in network Common Data Form, or NetCDF, a format for representing scientific information used widely among meteorologists.

'The emergency management community and the public at large can more effectively anticipate and respond to flood situations,' said Thomas Graziano, chief of the hydrological services program for NOAA's National Weather Service.

Fine resolution precipitation data can help government agencies, river authorities, agribusiness, hydropower utility companies and others make better, more cost-effective decisions about water management and the impacts of water surpluses and shortages.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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