Here in the Chicagoland area, there is one thing that is for sure. Nobody can predict the weather on a day to day basis. For example, during the winter time, it can be bitter cold, with the wind chills plunging as low as -60 F.
Or, during the summer time, the heat can be unbearable, with indices going into 110 F. Really, there is nothing in between. If it is going to get cold, it will get very cold, or if it is going to rain, it will do so torrentially.
Either way, it can be quite dangerous and hazardous, especially when it comes to driving, specifically on the highways. Chicago also has one of the worst drainage systems in the entire Midwest. For example, when it rains, it can totally flood the streets for hours on end, as the sewer drains are working ever so slowly to finish draining.
To help alleviate this problem, not just here in Chicago but nationwide as well, NOAA just last week announced the launch of a brand new forecasting tool.
This will simulate how the flow of water moves in rivers and streams, after a huge rainfall. This in turn, will lead to more advances being made in flood water management, and alerting the public of any potential floods.
This simulation tool is actually a very powerful GIS application. For example, the hardware upon which it runs is a Cray XC40 supercomputer, and collects data in real time from 8,000 US Geological Survey gauges to help simulate rainfall conditions for 2.7 million locations across the United States.
According to Louis UIccellini, the director of the National Weather Service: “With a changing climate, we’re experiencing more prolonged droughts and a greater frequency of record-breaking floods across the country, underscoring the nation’s need for expanded water information . . . The National Water Model will improve resiliency to water extremes in American communities. And as our forecasts get better, so will our planning and protection of life and property when there’s either too much water, too little, or poor water quality.” (SOURCE: http://www.directionsmag.com/pressreleases/noaa-launches-americas-first-national-water-forecast-model/473859).
It should be noted that the actual birth of this project was when President Obama announced at World Water Day back in March for an initiative for better water forecasting techniques.
GeoTel is a telecommunications research and GIS mapping firm that researches and provides telecom datasets for more than 7000 cities in the United States and worldwide. GeoTel’s expertise includes specialists in economic geography, geospatial engineering, web GIS, and telecommunications GIS Data.