The National Weather Service has created a new way to help coastal decision makers better project damage from coastal flooding through an experimental forecast technique they’re calling the “Coastal Flood Nomogram”. Unlike some other models which rely solely on predicted damage from still water, the Coastal Flood Nomogram considers the combined effects of storm tides and large, breaking waves.

The technique is currently being fine-tuned in New England (southwest coast of Maine and New Hampshire), but its goal, to “allow first responders to know the dangerous impacts of coastal flooding and make quicker, more accurate decisions to save life and property,” will clearly have uses coast-wide. From the press release:

“Continuing research in measuring and understanding complex storm tide interactions and the installation of additional tide gages in vulnerable coastal communities will enable us to advance this new forecasting technique. This will continue to provide emergency managers with more accurate information to keep our communities safer,” said Cumberland County Emergency Manager, Jim Budway. “The flood forecast was of great benefit during the 2010 New Year’s Day storm when we had to make critical decisions to shut down water and sewer plants near the ocean.”

There doesn’t seem to be a non-technical website explaining the system in more detail, but you can see an (updated twice-daily) demo of it on the Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System’s site, and you can find the press release here.

Photo: NOAA.

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