Most Active Stories
- Four Concerts Scheduled In Expanded, Larger Back Porch Music Series In Durham
- Duke Professor Carries On Tradition Of Black Radical Poetry
- First Openly Lesbian Presbyterian Pastor, One Year In
- As Costa Concordia Sank, Newlyweds Allowed Others To Take Life Boats First
- VIDEO: Colbert Claims To Be A Tar Heel After Sister Loses SC Congressional Race
Hosts, Reporters and Producers
Science & Technology
Fri August 26, 2011
Irene to Test Flood Prediction System
An experimental flood forecasting system will get a test with Hurricane Irene. Scientists have been experimenting with computer models since Hurricane Floyd produced heavier than expected flooding in 1999. The models are designed to predict how fresh water stream flow, ocean tides, and storm surge will interact. Suzanne VanCooten is a research hydro-meteorologist with the National Severe Storms Laboratory. She says one thing that's different this year from the lead-up to Hurricane Floyd is that many eastern North Carolina counties have been in a drought.
Suzanne VanCooten: "However because they have been in drought, we are looking at the possibility of having a very quick runoff. So a lot of that water, because the soils are so dry right now, will likely run off quicker than if we had basically a normal summertime moisture pattern in North Carolina."
VanCooten says their water level forecasts for the Tar-Pamlico and Neuse rivers and the Pamlico Sound are sent to National Weather Service forecasters. They use the data to issue flood watches and warnings.