How flood forecasts in actual time with block-by-block knowledge might save lives

A vehicle drives on a flooded road in Sebastopol, California, on January 5, 2023.

Enlarge / A automobile drives on a flooded highway in Sebastopol, California, on January 5, 2023. (credit score: Josh Edelson/AFP through Getty Photographs)

The intense flooding and mudslides throughout California in current weeks took many drivers unexpectedly. Sinkholes swallowed vehicles, highways grew to become fast-moving rivers of water, whole neighborhoods have been evacuated. A minimum of 20 folks died within the storms, a number of of them after changing into trapped in vehicles in dashing water.

As I checked the forecasts on my cellphone climate apps in the course of the weeks of storms in early January 2023, I puzzled whether or not folks within the midst of the downpours have been utilizing related know-how as they determined whether or not to depart their properties and decided which routes have been most secure. Did they really feel that it was enough?

I’m a hydrologist who typically works in distant areas, so decoding climate knowledge and forecast uncertainty is at all times a part of my planning. As somebody who as soon as practically drowned whereas crossing a flooded river the place I shouldn’t have, I’m additionally acutely acutely aware of the intense human vulnerability stemming from not realizing precisely the place and when a flood will strike.

Learn 20 remaining paragraphs | Feedback

The Obtain: army drones, and forbidden US chips

That is at the moment’s version of The Obtain, our weekday publication that gives a day by day dose of what’s occurring on the planet of know-how. Mass-market army drones have modified the best way wars are fought When america first fired

Read More »